Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Piece of Writing
This is the second work by Mr. John Banville I have read. The first was said by critics to be "the finest" introduction to this Author's work. I have now completed, "Doctor Copernicus", and can state it is immeasurably better. I have also started his work, "Kepler" and it shows all the same talent that Copernicus held.

Mr. Banville...
Published on 12 Nov 2002 by taking a rest

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very hard slog to finish this one
I know that John Banville expects his readers to do a lot of work but even so I found this a tough and largely unrewarding experience. There is exceptional writing in parts of this book but it is not uniform - some sections are frankly mediocre and there are sensationalist passages which really jar. Most importantly, plot development is slow to say the least and the...
Published 18 months ago by Norman Housley


Most Helpful First | Newest First

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Piece of Writing, 12 Nov 2002
By 
taking a rest - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doctor Copernicus (Paperback)
This is the second work by Mr. John Banville I have read. The first was said by critics to be "the finest" introduction to this Author's work. I have now completed, "Doctor Copernicus", and can state it is immeasurably better. I have also started his work, "Kepler" and it shows all the same talent that Copernicus held.

Mr. Banville has at his command a wide scope of knowledge together with the talent to know when to put it to use. He places the thoughts of other noted thinkers within his story, so that they are seamless, as opposed to sound bite flourishes. The thoughts of Soren, Kierkegaard, Albert Einstein, and Max Planck all join the writings of Dr. Copernicus, all assembled by Mr. Banville, as needed, appropriate, and without pretense.

Science is too often presented in a manner that the layperson is discouraged from pursuing the information. Historical fiction certainly should not be the only source for fact-finding, but when handled as well as this Author presents the material; it's accessible for anyone that is inquisitive. Copernicus's idea of Heliocentricity, the Elliptical Orbits of the Planets, which is dealt with humorously, and all the trials of defining new science are both readable and enjoyable. Particularly well presented was the whole concept of how theories and published material was viewed by the Scientists in the 16th Century. Did Copernicus believe that his explanation was in fact a picture of reality, or that what he documented merely agreed with what he observed? Sounds a bit dry, but the writing is brilliant.

The last 19 pages entitled, "Magnum Miraculum", are some of the best writing I have had the privilege to read. Life, death, redemption, and a dozen other concepts are presented in a totally original manner, and with an irony that is painful and beautiful as well.

Somewhere else I read that this was the Writer that would bring back the Nobel Prize for Literature to Ireland. The Isle has already brought forth writers who have won the award that has Ireland in the top 10 Countries for the first 100 years of the prize. If the balance of his work is this good, the prediction will become fact.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The mysterious life of the inventor of the solar-system., 26 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Doctor Copernicus (Paperback)
John Banville's 'Dr Copernicus' dramatises the mystery surrounding the life and work of this epoch-making scientist: why did he not publish his demolition of Ptolomey's theory of an Earth-centred cosmos in his own lifetime? Did he hesitate to place the Sun in the centre from fear of the Inquisition or from a realization that he was overturning a view of the world which his civilisation had held dear for 1,500 years? This novel doesn't give any easy answers; it dramatises the conflicts within Copernicus: priest or scientist, Pole or German (or neither), Catholic or Reformist, hetero- or bi-sexual, Medieval or Modern. There are no answers because Copernicus is a man who, in this imaginative reconstruction, stands on the border between all these conditions and is and remains ambiguous and mysterious. John Banville began writing about science and the scientific life in the '70s before the recent avalanche of popular science books. Readers who enjoyed 'Longitude' or its imitators might seek out this more biographic and dramatic approach to the question, 'what is it like to make a major scientific discovery?' But why not forget about all that and plunge into Banville's beautiful and astringent prose. I cannot remember how many times I have read this book, perhaps four or five? In any case, whenever I pick it up again, I appreciate once more the subtleties of its vortex-like plot, the superb characterisation not only of the misanthropic Doctor but also of his awe-struck and envious colleagues, the beauty of its descriptions of the Baltic and Italy. Read it and then read Banville's follow-up 'Kepler' which carries forward the bizarre story of the birth of modern astronomy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'This book was great: gripping, intense, postmodern', 21 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Doctor Copernicus (Paperback)
Copernicus, so famous for his revelations about the workings of the universe, is vividly brought into three dimensions in this post-modern 'faction' biography. Banville's language is so beautiful and so charged it fascinates the reader from the outset, and his story thrillingly develops as the fragile astronomer struggles to be heard and accepted against a tide of scorn and a manipulative family. Although the story of Copernicus can be found elsewhere, this book sculpts him and his surroundings into the deeply feeling and thinking individual we can only hope he was, more than any other account ever could. Banville's novel is constructed to perfection; keeping the reader guessing and hoping with every step. My senses were switched on by this book, and I would recommend it to anyone in search of the definitive meaning of life, love history and language. I loved it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great novel but flawed Kindle edition, 26 July 2012
By 
J. Baxendale (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Doctor Copernicus (Kindle Edition)
As others have said, this is a wonderful and absorbing novel. The Economist review quoted is precisely right: it is firmly rooted both in the age it deals with and in the one in which it was written. It operates successfully on a number of different levels, most impressively as a fiercely intelligent investigation of the nature of knowledge and the origins of the systematic forms of knowledge that we now call science. As such it is informed both by a deep historical understanding of its period, and by the debates around the history of science at the time it was written, in particular the work of Thomas Kuhn. At the same time it works wonderfully as a narrative, as a study of character and as an evocation of historical context and events: for example, the acerbic contrast drawn between declining Renaissance Italy and the northern Europe of impending Reformation is just brilliant. An enthralling read which justifies the existence of the historical novel. A pity then that in preparing the Kindle edition the publishers couldn't make the notes at the end link to the relevant text, instead of to some random place in the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very hard slog to finish this one, 5 Jan 2013
By 
Norman Housley (Leicester United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Doctor Copernicus (Kindle Edition)
I know that John Banville expects his readers to do a lot of work but even so I found this a tough and largely unrewarding experience. There is exceptional writing in parts of this book but it is not uniform - some sections are frankly mediocre and there are sensationalist passages which really jar. Most importantly, plot development is slow to say the least and the protagonist's main characteristic is his elusiveness.

I really enjoyed The Book of Evidence but this book was disappointing. And I don't agree at all with the reviewers who say that he captures the period - but then I am a historian who actually works on these decades so my perspective is unusual.

Banville's work reminds me of art house cinema - it can be really wonderful but the straining for effect doesn't always work. I don't think it does here.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Doctor Copernicus
Doctor Copernicus by John Banville (Paperback - 6 Aug 2010)
5.59
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews