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Holy Orders (Quirke) Hardcover – 20 Aug 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company (20 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805094407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805094404
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,508,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Named One of the 10 Best Mysteries of 2013 by "The Wall Street Journal""Absorbing... The murder mystery is solved, after its startling fashion, in due time--but not before Mr. Black has worked his lyrical magic at fine length, in scenes that unfold with a poet's grace.... Long may we wander Dublin's damp streets in the dour doctor's melancholy presence."--"The Wall Street Journal""Sophisticated... Banville is arguably one of the finest prose stylists writing in English today."--"The Atlantic" Wire"It is doubtful that anyone can write as well as Benjamin Black when it comes to a psychological mystery... And it is significant that the silken skill with which he writes of past and present death matches the literary talent that marked the author in his incarnation as John Banville, winner of the Man Booker Prize."--"The Washington Times""["Holy Orders"] starts and ends as strongly as the best of the Quirkes...This book may well introduce many readers to the series, as it is sure to get major attention this year when the BBC airs in Great Britain its production of Black's work. It stars Gabriel Byrne as Black's protagonist, the dour, self-hating, sometimes alcoholic pathologist, Quirke, in 1950s Dublin."--"St. Louis Post-Dispatch""Outstanding . . . Black (nom de plume for the Quirke books by acclaimed Irish author John Banville) has turned in his most complex plot yet in "Holy Orders," the sixth book in this 1950s-Dublin-set series."--"The Star-Ledger "(New Jersey)"[Quirke] appears for a seventh time in Black's gripping, terrific new novel, "Holy Orders." . . Although it shares the vivid settings, evocative mood and striking characters of the earlier Quirke novels, "Holy Orders" has a tighter, more intricate plot."--"The Tampa Bay Times""Banville's knack for drawing the reader in with a good story remains forcefully intact."--The Daily Beast"Black masterfully evokes an Ireland in the iron grip of Mother Church...Quirke, a product of his environm --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Benjamin Black is the pen name of acclaimed author John Banville, who was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. His novels have won numerous awards, including the Man Booker Prize in 2005 for The Sea. He lives in Dublin. This is the sixth novel in Benjamin Black's Quirke Dublin series which is about to be adapted for BBC1 and will star Gabriel Byrne. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to describe Black's crime novels. The pleasure is to be found as much in any one individual sentence as it is over the whole plot. The writing is gorgeous - thick, poetic, languid, written for its own sake. The impressions created by the sentences, one upon the other, are stunning, and again are as important as anything related to the actual story. The plots themselves flow like rivers, almost pre-determinedly, uncomplicatedly, inevitably. They move quietly from one event with the next, with very little flashiness or show. These are not novels, really, for fans who primarily want a lot of plot. That's not Black's intention. There's a sense I get when reading these novels of just quietly watching, as if people on a street.

This entry is the strongest in the series so far. Of course, Ireland is redolent with religion and its past crimes, and this novel addresses that as directly as any of Black's have before. As they inevitably would have to, given Quirke's background - the background machinations of the church are deliciously, quietly sinister. The ending is fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stanley Crowe TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover
. . the bite, that is, of well-constructed detective fiction. Despite all the blurbs on my paperback cover about how great the plot is, I'm here to tell you that the plot here is really quite perfunctorily handled, and the identification of the killers is almost anti-climactic. What replaces it is "atmosphere," and Black (Banville) is very good at that. The book is very readable, and the writing is fresh and alert and lively, even when the characters are often not lively. So by all means give it a go -- it's not dull . . .

BUT be aware that the real focus of the writer's interest here is the inner lives of Quirke, Black's pathologist protagonist, and his daughter, Phoebe. In fact, when one is worrying about spoilers in writing about this novel, it isn't plot details that one is worrying about: it's about revealing possibly too much of Quirke's state of mind. That state of mind is vividly rendered, as is the behavior it occasions, and the reader of the Quirke series is likely to speculate on its relation to Quirke's history, going back to his days as a child in the care of the Catholic authorities at Carricklea. What isn't so clear is how this attention to Quirke's consciousness fits in with his solving of the mystery of the death with which the book opens -- the death of Jimmy Minor, a reporter and friend of Phoebe's, whose battered body is found in a canal in Chapter 1. Is it a distraction, as he works with Inspector Hackett to solve the mystery, or does it help him solve it? I don't think I'm giving much away when I say that it isn't a distraction, but it's not clear that it's a help.

Jimmy has left behind notes that indicate a couple of directions of inquiry for a story he was working on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Book club groupie on 20 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To be honest, I had been feeling pretty jaded about the Quirke mysteries. I love John Banville's writing, but as Benjamin Black, I felt that the last two Quirke novels had been of the potboiler variety. This book was so good, however, perhaps because it was more John Banville than Benjamin Black. The voice was authentic and it seemed to me to be the voice of John Banville. There was some superb writing - for instance, the marvellous description of the tinkers' campsite, which was a real set piece. Banville is known for saying that what happens in a book doesn't matter; it's how it's written about that counts. This was absolutely the case here. The plot was slight and not particularly complex. Thank goodness, it wasn't quite a repetition of the usual 'The Catholic priests, they done me wrong', which Irish literature is giving us quite a lot of, at present. The reason I didn't give it five stars is that I felt that Phoebe's voice, and Quirke's, were a bit too similar - virtually interchangeable at some points, such as when they both consider taking a sickie because they are so soul-sick. But overall, reading it was an enjoyable experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lucia Tilling on 11 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was delighted to learn there was a sixth Quirke novel in the offing and placed my order in advance. When "Holy Orders" arrived on my Kindle I had to resist opening it until I was on holiday. Once opened, I couldn't leave it alone. Quirke is back, still drinking, still flinching from the abuse he underwent during his childhood in the religious-run orphanage, and still ill at ease with his daughter. The Quirke novels do not provide a trail of clues about the identity of the murderer to tease the reader or confirm her cleverness: rather they indict the hypocrisy and cruelty of 1950s' Ireland. There are occasional instances of kindness and self-sacrifice but overall Dublin is depicted as a bleak place.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tilley Tadgell on 2 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
The only disappointment for me is when I have completed reading any books in the Quirke series. Holy Orders is beautifully written, equals anything written as John Banville. The best in the series to date. Love the introduction of Cant (language of Irish Travellers).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Admirers of Booker prizewinning novelist John Banville's elegant and thoughtful prose should by now require no further encouragement to explore the work of his alter ego Benjamin Black and in particular the world of his Dublin pathologist creation, Quirke. This, the sixth of Black/ Banville's Quirke Mysteries , comes however with a single health warning : the Mysteries really should be read sequentially . And how fortunate the reader who can thus begin at the beginning with "Christine Falls" !

Here, in " Holy Orders" ,Quirke once again stumbles forward, all too human in his damaged past and his present weaknesses , as he seeks to confront his demons. It is unnecessary, if not downright undesirable , to provide any sort of resume of this beautifully crafted tale. But it is perhaps enough to comment that , like Raymond Chandler - his great predecessor in the noir thriller genre - Black / Banville has created a world shot through with betrayals and often unintentional collateral damage . At its core is the unresolved but evolving relationship between Quirke and Phoebe. All around is a richly realised 1950s Dublin bathed in what the Irish call soft weather , but which cannot wash away its darker grains.

Andrew Roe
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