Customer Reviews


24 Reviews
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars master of prose
Banville writes exquisitely. The sentences are invariably arresting and his use of language and imagery is magnificent. It's a very dark novel; so dark that I had to put it down for a few days at a time in order for the enormity and the relentless misery of the protagonist's situation to sink in. But if you allow yourself time for his prose to sink in, you will return...
Published on 16 Jun 2010 by Helen Hoffmann

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hung jury.
This book has excited great enthusiasm from reviewers but for me the parts - or at least some of them - seem greater than the whole. It starts with some wonderfully sharp, original and focused writing, compelling attention, admiration and the desire to read on. Throughout there are patches of evocation which transcend areas that are much looser. The opening to Part 2 is...
Published on 5 Feb 2012 by Bluecashmere.


Most Helpful First | Newest First

4.0 out of 5 stars A Murder in Ireland, 22 Oct 2013
By 
This review is from: The Book of Evidence (Paperback)
I read only two John Banville (JB) novels before this one. I loved his Booker Prize winner "The Sea" and his earlier "The Untouchable" about Anthony Blunt, the UK's infamous and long-undetected `Fifth Man' in a famous Cold War scandal, who later became Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures. Both novels were in effect, made-up musings by JB's main characters. This JB novel, first published in 1989, bears all the hallmarks of these later books.

But soon after digging into this novel, readers will have serious doubts about Freddie Montgomery, the main subject's character and integrity. Will find him self-centered and unable to fathom the impression he makes on others when they first see or meet him (tall and overweight, speaking upper-class English). As the book progresses, he becomes rather wild-eyed, unkempt and smelly. The book constantly frames (or interrupts) scenes of the hero's weird travails with descriptions of the weather, the clouds, the sea, the landscape, which was a feature of "The Sea", too.

This novel is supposedly written in prison, in the I form as a long-winded plea for mercy from judges and jury in mind, by a killer to justify his crime, his past, what he went through just before and after the fatal event. And about how long it took the police to find him (despite all the clues, sightings, weird incidents he created) during a short stay, or should one say, a spree of bad form between Ibiza, Spain and Ireland?
There is much more to this book, with many highly dramatic side-events for readers to discover. And strange as it may seem, they are often described in a hilariously funny way. Thoroughly entertaining, superbly written and instantly forgettable, because it has no morale or ulterior message. Unless I'm badly wrong. Entertaining and recommended novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A really good read., 12 Sep 2013
By 
Mr. Philip Naessens (Leixlip, Kildare, IE) - See all my reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Banville's sense of mood is legendary. His descriptions of places and people are so vivid Its almost like being there.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Crime and Banishment, 8 July 2013
This review is from: The Book of Evidence (Paperback)
Banville's book is a deeply unpleasant read, not because it's badly written, but because it is narrated in the first-person by a deeply unpleasant character.

The plot of the book seems drawn from the real-life story of Irish socialite killer Macolm McArthur, an allusion to whom may have influenced Banville in his choice of 'Montgomery' as the surname for his central character (McArthur...Montgomery... geddit?).

Many have compared this book to the Russian classic 'Crime and Punishment', however the parallels between both books seem almost as mirror negatives of each other; whereas Raskolnikov's crime is planned and measured, Montgomery's actions are impulsive and improvised. Raskolnikov is racked by his conscience after his criminal act yet Montgomery remains relatively morally unmolested by his own actions. Even the comparative sizes of the books are polar opposites, 'The Book of Evidence' being a mercifully short read for the reason outlined at the start of this review.

Banville earns his 'master of prose' plaudit alone for the voicing of the Mongomery character. Evoking Gogol, he displaces the reader from his or her locus of rational morality to view the world through the eyes of someone who is deeply mentally ill.

Mongomery ultimately only feels shame for his actions, no other remorse seems present and no redemption is invoked. His sciopathic nature is chillingly revealed when he recounts the dying words of the young girl he has murdered. Initially, he thinks she is mumbling the word 'Tommy' over and over again. Later on, he releases with amused detachment that the word she was actually saying was 'Mammy'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars fantastic?, 4 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Yet another great read from Banville. Beautiful prose which allows the language to carry the story being told by a murderer sitting in his prison cell. Even though one knows that he is guilty you wish him to get away with the crime.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars The Book of Evidence - John Banville, 17 April 2013
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Book of Evidence (Paperback)
I found this too self-consciously arch to enjoy, I'm afraid. This type of narrator I've met hundreds of times before. I found I was too conscious of Banville behind the writing, partly because I didn't remotely believe the characters "voice" (horrible term, but you know what I mean). In terms of suspense and plot, I know as much at the start as I did at the beginning, armed with the blurb. The language is good, of course, but that wasn't enough to make me feel I took anything worthwhile away from reading this. I feel a little ashamed, really!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing but beautifully written, 18 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Book Evidence (Hardcover)
Banville's prose is strangely compelling and takes you on a journey into the mind of someone who could be described as a psychopath. Or is he?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Early work, 3 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Book of Evidence (Paperback)
This is an early Banville yet it shows the Banville elements which were to emerge in later works. Told, as usual, from the main characters thoughts it pulls the reader in to his way of thinking.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Banville is a Literary God!, 5 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Book of Evidence (Paperback)
I agree with another reviewer: I didn't want this book to end - the same way I feel about every Banville book I read. Upon finishing it, I felt as though I'd woken from a dream, such was the strength of the imagery evoked by Banville's deliciously austere prose. These are sentences to be savoured and then reread with admiring (or perhaps envious) smiles.

In short, Banville's a word-God, capable of taking you out of yourself and into another world - and yet there remain so few reviews of his books.

Thanks to subject matter, this book should appeal to a far wider audience than some of his earlier work. Hopefully it will act as a wonderful introduction to Banville for potential fans. He deserves them.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic, 1 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Book of Evidence (Paperback)
John Banville is one of the best writers of the twentieth (and hopefully twenty-first!) century. Freddie Montgomery is a monster, but Banville somehow succeeds in winning the reader over, despite the very unorthodox behaviour of his narrator!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark yarn entices and grips, 13 Sep 2000
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Book of Evidence (Paperback)
Although I didn't think this book was quite as good as the first reviewer did, I nevertheless enjoyed it immensely. It's extremely well-written, the characters are very believable and interesting, the plot interesting - what more could you want? Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Book of Evidence
The Book of Evidence by John Banville (Paperback - 5 Mar 2010)
5.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews