Top positive review
A good book, but beware of the blurb on the back
on 5 October 2009
This is an enjoyable book with a good plot and some interesting characters. However, the blurb on the back cover detracts from the enjoyment of reading it by revealing too much detail. Most signifcantly, it mentions a key charcter and his involvement in the plot, yet he doesn't appear until half way through the story, and even then it takes a little time for his role to become clear.
Leaving that aside, it's a good book; Benjamin Black (real name, John Banville) writes elegantly and convincingly; the plot is carefully paced and sustained by rich descriptive prose. The central character, John Glass, is a journalist, writing his father-in-law's biography. Glass is a complex person, and his difficult relationships with his family, his dilemma over his professional instincts and his own personal situation, and his interaction with other characters is the best aspect of the book. It's a short book, and is slightly unusual in that much of the action has taken place either before we pick up the story or away from the main plot line - instead, the reader is left to piece together the chain of events based on Glass's thoughts, actions and conversations. Throughout, it's tense and edgy. Recommended.