The Book of Evidence (Frames) Paperback – 5 Mar 2010
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Banville has excelled himself in a flawlessly flowing prose whose lyricism, patrician irony and aching sense of loss are reminiscent of Lolita. (Observer)
The Book of Evidence is a major work of fiction in which every suave moment calmly detonates to show the murderous gleam within. Banville writes a dangerous and clear-running prose and has a grim gift of seeing people’s souls. (Don DeLillo)
One of the most important writers now at work in English – a key thinker, in fact, in fiction. (London Review of Books)
Remarkable. . . If all crime novels were like this one, there would no longer be the need for a genre. (Ruth Rendell)
The darkly compelling confession of an improbable murderer, shortlisted for the 1989 Booker Prize.See all Product description
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First-person narrated by the very self-absorbed (and probably psychopathic) Freddie, John Banville's 1989 Booker Prize shortlisted 'The Book of Evidence' pulls the reader into Freddie's world, and what a very unsettling place Freddie's world is. But Freddie, we soon discover, is a rather unreliable narrator, so how much of his sorry tale can we believe? And is Freddie just a very selfish and self-absorbed character with very little empathy for anyone else, or does he have some kind of personality or psychotic disorder? And if so, should he be held wholly responsible for his crimes? Smoothly and beautifully written, with some marvellous descriptions of situation and setting, this was an involving and (despite the rather gruesome murder scene) an entertaining read, but once I had turned the last page I have to say that I was rather glad to leave Freddie behind me.
I hated it. The characters were an inexplicable mix of misfits and pariahs and Banville's contempt for ordinary folk is simply horrid. The turgid plot is dragged along with Mogadon-esque speed towards a predictable, and it felt to me, almost unreachable end. The lead character shows a bi-polar mix of intellectual sophistication and almost insane stupidity and I just felt utterly, utterly bored with his life. What Frederick needed was a good, five to ten minute kicking and a hobby: what a loser.
The prose makes Henry James read like The Beano and Banville is so addicted to his thesaurus that I had to stop every ten minutes to look up some utterly mindless alter word for a milk jug...or gate or something. Even Joyce was more enjoyable than this.
I gleaned nothing from this book and had to read Farewell to Arms again afterwards just to reaffirm my faith in literature. Booker prize nominated? Your 'avin' a larf.
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