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Ghosts Paperback – 5 Mar 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 4/4 edition (5 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330371851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330371858
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 162,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

An unforgettable amalgam of enchantment and menace

From the Inside Flap

In this brilliantly haunting new novel, John Banville forges an unforgettable amalgam of enchantment and menace that suggests both The Tempest and his own acclaimed The Book of Evidence. "A surreal and exquisitely lyrical new novel by one of the great stylists writing in English today."--Boston Globe. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Banville's 'Ghosts' wasn't originally conceived as a sequel to 'The Book of Evidence', but apparently mutated into this whilst being written.
It takes the form of a series of memories and re-interpretations of the main characters past (the ghosts of the title) as he tries (largely without sucess) to figure out the motivations behind both his actions and his very "self".
'Ghosts' is also peopled with characters from Banvilles earlier masterpiece, 'Mephisto', and to read 'Ghosts' without first having read 'Mephisto' and 'The Book of Evidence' would undoubtedly be a severely diminished experience...But to read it in the context of Banvilles other work is to become utterly immersed and seduced by his world.
This is imaginative writing of the very highest order, dripping with wonder and insight, not, perhaps, as immediately exciting as'The Book of Evidence', but ulimately a much deeper and more profound work.
Like all of Banvilles books 'Ghosts' is also tremendously witty. With the author at his most Nabokov-ian numerous passages demand to be read out-loud to anyone within ear-shot!
So, to sum-up, this is one of the best (possibly the very best) works by a writer who stands head and shoulders above all his other other Anglo-Irish literary contemporaries...need I say more?
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Format: Paperback
Less a plot novel than The Book of Evidence (of which it is the sort-of sequel), Ghosts nevertheless has an artistry that neither BOE nor any other book I've read in recent years can touch. The imagery isn't merely beautiful; it is staggering, and the mood that Banville conjures will hold any reader with an imagination.
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Format: Paperback
This book can appear plotless and extremely confusing. But, if read in context as the central book of Banville's trilogy, then it really works. This trilogy is loosely constructed and has a very clear Beckettian echo - it is not meant to be a linear narrative and the protagonist in all three books is not necessarily the same character; just as Samuel Beckett's central character in 'Molloy', 'Malone Dies' and 'The Unnamable'. Banville writes about art and about 'painting the perfect world': his trilogy illustrates an ideal concept of life and at the same time undermines it very deftly. 'Ghosts' is a painting, which comes together only at the end. I think it is a masterpiece, but it loses out on being read on its own.
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Format: Paperback
Unlike other reviewers, I came to 'Ghosts' without knowledge of the previous books. I doubt my enjoyment could have been greater if I had read its predecessors.

'Ghosts' is an imaginative and poetic meditation on repentance and atonement, on self-identity and self-estrangement. It follows the thoughts of an ex-convict released after serving time for murder as he spends his days reforming his tattered existence on a secluded island inhabited by the mysterious 'Professor' and the equally elusive 'Licht'. The nameless narrator experiences a whole tapestry of fleeting emotions and terrors finally culminating in a dream-like retrospective of the day he was released.

Banville's language is, as ever, finely judged but those looking for a traditional plot or character interactions would do better to look elsewhere. Recommended.
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By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 14 May 2015
Format: Paperback
This is the second book by John Banville that I have read, and I keep finding myself astounded by the cleverness of his writing – never inaccessible, just incredibly clever, keeping you hanging on to the last word when you finally get the joke that has been building for so long you wonder how the author ever managed to keep it in order.

This book is a sequel to The Book of Evidence, and follows the narrator on his continuing journey of .. .what? self-discovery? inward contemplation? That’s the trick with these stories, the narrator is not exactly reliable, so what he offers to us, and what we get to see, are not necessarily the ‘reality’ of the story.

Set ten years after the events of The Book of Evidence, the story’s narrator is now released from prison. On an island, he lives in the large house with the Professor and Licht. Quite what he is doing there remains opaque to the reader for a while, as we first see the island from the perspective of a number of passengers, tipped out of the ferry as it grounded on a sandbank, and seeking refuge while waiting for the tide to come in and refloat the boat. They are a diverse lot – the young woman, the older woman, the older man, the disturbing man, the three children. And for the Professor at least one of them will be familiar, to his dread.

A wonderful story, this is another tale of a man who follows yet dreads his own ghosts, seen this time in the company of another group of people whose lives are also open yet closed. The reveal at the end of the book is delightful; a laugh-out-loud moment of revelation, yet sad and somehow imbued with a continuing sense of tragedy. I look forward to the third book in this trilogy, Athena to see where the journey goes next.
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By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 14 May 2015
Format: Hardcover
This is the second book by John Banville that I have read, and I keep finding myself astounded by the cleverness of his writing – never inaccessible, just incredibly clever, keeping you hanging on to the last word when you finally get the joke that has been building for so long you wonder how the author ever managed to keep it in order.

This book is a sequel to The Book of Evidence, and follows the narrator on his continuing journey of .. .what? self-discovery? inward contemplation? That’s the trick with these stories, the narrator is not exactly reliable, so what he offers to us, and what we get to see, are not necessarily the ‘reality’ of the story.

Set ten years after the events of The Book of Evidence, the story’s narrator is now released from prison. On an island, he lives in the large house with the Professor and Licht. Quite what he is doing there remains opaque to the reader for a while, as we first see the island from the perspective of a number of passengers, tipped out of the ferry as it grounded on a sandbank, and seeking refuge while waiting for the tide to come in and refloat the boat. They are a diverse lot – the young woman, the older woman, the older man, the disturbing man, the three children. And for the Professor at least one of them will be familiar, to his dread.

A wonderful story, this is another tale of a man who follows yet dreads his own ghosts, seen this time in the company of another group of people whose lives are also open yet closed. The reveal at the end of the book is delightful; a laugh-out-loud moment of revelation, yet sad and somehow imbued with a continuing sense of tragedy. I look forward to the third book in this trilogy, Athena to see where the journey goes next.
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