Ancient Light

Ancient Light

Book - 2012
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The Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea gives us a brilliant, profoundly moving new novel about an actor in the twilight of his life and his career: a meditation on love and loss, and on the inscrutable immediacy of the past in our present lives.

Is there any difference between memory and invention? That is the question that fuels this stunning novel, written with the depth of character, the clarifying lyricism and the sly humor that have marked all of John Banville's extraordinary works. And it is the question that haunts Alexander Cleave, an actor in the twilight of his career and of his life, as he plumbs the memories of his first--and perhaps only--love (he, fifteen years old, the woman more than twice his age, the mother of his best friend; the situation impossible, thrilling, devouring and finally devastating) . . . and of his daughter, lost to a kind of madness of mind and heart that Cleave can only fail to understand. When his dormant acting career is suddenly, inexplicably revived with a movie role portraying a man who may not be who he says he is, his young leading lady--famous and fragile--unwittingly gives him the opportunity to see with aching clarity the "chasm that yawns between the doing of a thing and the recollection of what was done."

Ancient Light is a profoundly moving meditation on love and loss, on the inscrutable immediacy of the past in our present lives, on how invention shapes memory and memory shapes the man. It is a book of spellbinding power and pathos from one of the greatest masters of prose at work today.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2012
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780307957054
Branch Call Number: FIC BAN
Characteristics: 287 p. ; 22 cm

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crumpetdoll
Jul 05, 2016

Absolutely beautiful

patienceandfortitude Jan 21, 2014

I have mixed feelings about this book. I think Banville is a fabulous writer, but I'm not sure what he is trying to do with this novel. Lots of relationships, past and present, mothers and daughters and just a smidgen of his wife. He is very masculine. Overall I would say it is worth reading.

b
bibliofinn
May 18, 2013

The lyrical, jewel-like prose style and the poetic intensity of observation that are Banville's signature are here again. So too are many of the characters from his earlier novel, Shroud. What is new is the raw emotional charge. In his earlier novels, Banville often seemed to achieve stylistic perfection at the cost of archness and emotional detachment. Here he achieves some of the most moving moments in any novel I've read in the past year. It's good to see that he is still pushing himself at a time in his career when he could be coasting. He also makes a Hitchcock-like cameo in this book as the screenwriter JB (or at least I think he does). The self-portrait is amusing and again, unexpectedly moving.

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