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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 13 September 2000
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.
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VINE VOICEon 5 February 2014
Based on a true story, this is a fascinating exploration of the mind of a murderer and his world. Irish writer John Banville is a brilliant stylist,and in this novel he combines coruscating prose with a vividly drawn characters and a plot that keeps drawing you in. There is also much dark humour. Highly recommended if you like both literary fiction and thrillers.
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on 1 February 2002
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!
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on 4 May 2013
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.
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on 8 December 2012
Unputdownable. Although I am totally biased as I love John Banville's work (along with his alias of Benjamin Black), I would strongly recommend this book. By the end of the book, I didn't know whether to love Freddie Montgomery or give him a good slap!
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on 5 December 2000
All his books are magnificient, of the 20 or so contemporary writers I read during the last year Banville is the one who will still be read in a hundred years.
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on 4 February 2008
This is shockingly good writing. I had to slow myself down reading it to savour every page.
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on 25 September 2013
I can't understand why people are so enthusiastic about this one. Let's get the question of style out of the way ('Banville writes exquisitely'): good, even exquisite, writing is not at a premium these days. It isn't exactly difficult, since simple English is best. And Banville cannot compare with authors like Toibin or Hollinghurst, not to mention Amis or Barnes, in what he makes language do. Here he imposes on himself the constraint of pretending to be a lowlifer: it doesn't work because every time a literary simile trundles along, we can see Banville behind pushing it, panting slightly. Plenty of other authors have made a better fist of getting inside the mind of a sociopath, such as S Faulks (Engleby). Moreover, the book has very little story, other than what you can pick up from the blurb. You keep expecting some interesting twist or even a bit more gratuitous mayhem, but it never comes. Some kind of moral insight might have compensated but that too is absent.
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on 3 September 2012
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.
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on 12 September 2013
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.
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