Saturday, 6 July 2013

Ancient Light by John Banville (Book Review)

Ancient Light by John Banville



'In a small town in 1950's Ireland a fifteen-year-old boy has illicit meetings with a thirty-five-year-old woman - in the back of her car on sunny mornings, and in a run down cottage in the country on rain-soaked afternoons. Unsure why she has chosen him, he becomes obsessed and tormented by his first love. Half a century later, Alexander Cleave- grieving for the recent loss of his daughter - recalls these trysts, trying to make sense of the boy he was and of the needs and frailties of the human heart'
Wow, what can be said about this book?'


You will either like it immensly...or dislike it.

There is a certain manner if writing in this novel, and it's quite a difficult book to follow at times, due to the vast amount of description of absolutely everything.

John Banville is extremely descriptive and leaves nothing for you to make up in your mind. Each character, place, feeling, movement is descibed to the extreme, the one good thing is that you visualise these things exactly the way the author wanted you to see them.

Ancient Light has a potentially good idea to it, although when reading, it doesn't grip you as it should, mainly due to the description- the actual plot of the book turns up every now and again.

The author likes to address the reader directly at times, just to make sure that you're 'paying attention' which I found quite amusing really, initially it can irritate, then you realise that it's the author's personality coming through his writing. It's almost as if you, the reader are listening to him speaking, you are involved in his conversation.

Its a nice, easy book, where you don't need to concentrate a great deal, and you can enjoy visualising his surrounding description, then every now and then it grips you, and you're onto a story line with a little suspense thrown in.

As this isn't really the type of book that I would pick up, I am pleased that I read it, it was very interesting to read this method of writing.

I enjoyed the suspense surrounding his daughters death, the mysterious Dawn Devonport and his interesting wife along with the way he harboured the longing for Mrs. Grey in his later years more than the actual story of his affair as a fifteen year old.

Certainly worth a look if you're after a read that's just a little 'off kilter'

Disclosure: I was kindly sent a free copy of this book from Penguin/BritMums' to review, I was not given any financial payment for writing this post