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Birchwood [Kindle Edition]

John Banville
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.68 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Once the big house on an Irish estate, Birchwood has turned into a baroque madhouse for its ruined inhabitants. One disaster succeeds another, until young Gabriel Godkin runs away to join a travelling circus and look for his long-lost twin sister. Soon he discovers that famine and unrest stalk the countryside, and Ireland is ruined too.

Birchwood represents a watershed in contemporary Irish writing: it is a novel in which history becomes a rich black comedy full of land agitation and Gothic characters; and a sense of bewilderment at the nature of the universe fills its pages’ Colm Tóibín

‘John Banville is one of the great masters of the . . . English language’ Catherine Lockerbie, Scotsman



Product Description

Book Description

‘This is one of the most startling of the century’s varied achievements in Irish writing’ Seamus Deane

Book Description

Once the big house on an Irish estate, Birchwood has turned into a baroque madhouse for its ruined inhabitants. One disaster succeeds another, until young Gabriel Godkin runs away to join a travelling circus and look for his long-lost twin sister. Soon he discovers that famine and unrest stalk the countryside, and Ireland is ruined too. ‘Birchwood represents a watershed in contemporary Irish writing: it is a novel in which history becomes a rich black comedy full of land agitation and Gothic characters; and a sense of bewilderment at the nature of the universe fills its pages’ Colm Tóibín ‘John Banville is one of the great masters of the . . . English language’ Catherine Lockerbie, Scotsman

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 621 KB
  • Print Length: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (23 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OYYP7Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #214,543 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of fifteen novels including The Sea, which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. He lives in Dublin.

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing from first page to last! 10 Oct. 2009
Format:Paperback
This book has very clear echoes of Proust, both in the writing style and in the sense of nostalgia that pervades the story of aristocratic decline. The references are clear and deliberate - in the very first chapter, Banville's narrator refers to his fragments of memory as "madeleines" and talks of his "search for time misplaced."

Birchwood is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. While the writing style is reminiscent of Proust in its dreamy beauty, it clips along at a much faster pace, as does the sometimes bizarre plot of childhood resentments, exploding grandmothers, running off to join the circus, searching for a long-lost sister, etc. Also there's a detachment from the destruction that comes to Birchwood, a sense that it's inevitable and even deserved, a strong context of the social unrest in Ireland at the time.

The writing was brilliant from the first page to the last, and made me want to read a lot more of Banville's work.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Written by a true master of language 5 July 2011
Format:Paperback
I only recently discovered John Banville after reading The Book of Evidence, Copernicus and the Infinities, and soon ordered everything else that he has written. I rarely write reviews for books, but Birchwood had me so entranced in its lyrical spell that I wanted to tell eveyone interested in great literature about this little gem.

With its father-son relationship, insanity and violence, Birchwood reminds me of Nick Cave's And the Ass Saw the Angel. With a little less gore and mutilations (but certainly not without them). The language is equally breathtaking so that even death captivates. It's a world of magical realism set among circus folk but a world deprived of laughter; there are no happy clowns here throwing pies in your face - the tone is sinister and the clowns malevolent. The language spellbinding. 175 pages that you don't want to end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing 16 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another superb piece of literature from John Banville.
In some passages the use of words borders on poetic.
The story has great pace and feeling.
Superb!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Words of a master 3 May 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
John Banville is a wonderful writer. His imagery dazzles and his inventiveness is unparalleled. I highly recommend him to every reader.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 11 Jan. 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
good
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