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The Book of Evidence

The Book of Evidence Returning to Ireland to reclaim a painting that is part of his patrimony a thirty eight year old man commits a ghastly and motiveless murder which he confesses in a novel length narrative

  • Title: The Book of Evidence
  • Author: John Banville
  • ISBN: 9780375725234
  • Page: 340
  • Format: Paperback
  • Returning to Ireland to reclaim a painting that is part of his patrimony, a thirty eight year old man commits a ghastly and motiveless murder, which he confesses in a novel length narrative.

    • ☆ The Book of Evidence ☆ John Banville
      340 John Banville

    About "John Banville"

    1. John Banville

      Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland His father worked in a garage and died when Banville was in his early thirties his mother was a housewife He is the youngest of three siblings his older brother Vincent is also a novelist and has written under the name Vincent Lawrence as well as his own His sister Vonnie Banville Evans has written both a children s novel and a reminiscence of growing up in Wexford.Educated at a Christian Brothers school and at St Peter s College in Wexford Despite having intended to be a painter and an architect he did not attend university Banville has described this as A great mistake I should have gone I regret not taking that four years of getting drunk and falling in love But I wanted to get away from my family I wanted to be free After school he worked as a clerk at Aer Lingus which allowed him to travel at deeply discounted rates He took advantage of this to travel in Greece and Italy He lived in the United States during 1968 and 1969 On his return to Ireland he became a sub editor at the Irish Press, rising eventually to the position of chief sub editor His first book, Long Lankin, was published in 1970.After the Irish Press collapsed in 1995, he became a sub editor at the Irish Times He was appointed literary editor in 1998 The Irish Times, too, suffered severe financial problems, and Banville was offered the choice of taking a redundancy package or working as a features department sub editor He left Banville has been a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books since 1990 In 1984, he was elected to Aosd na, but resigned in 2001, so that some other artist might be allowed to receive the cnuas.Banville also writes under the pen name Benjamin Black His first novel under this pen name was Christine Falls, which was followed by The Silver Swan in 2007 Banville has two adult sons with his wife, the American textile artist Janet Dunham They met during his visit to San Francisco in 1968 where she was a student at the University of California, Berkeley Dunham described him during the writing process as being like a murderer who s just come back from a particularly bloody killing Banville has two daughters from his relationship with Patricia Quinn, former head of the Arts Council of Ireland.Banville has a strong interest in vivisection and animal rights, and is often featured in Irish media speaking out against vivisection in Irish university research.

    149 Comments

    1. Irish novelist John Banville known to readers of mystery fiction as Benjamin Black had been writing novels for twenty years when, in 1989, The Book of Evidence was short listed for the Booker Every page of this elegant psychopathic monologue a thief and murderer s intelligent and restrained account of his inane and violent crime reveals Banville to be a master of his craft.Protagonist Freddie Montgomery is like Humbert Humbert an unreliable narrator He and Humbert are unreliable, however, not be [...]


    2. John Banville never spares his personages And he doesn t spare his readers too.Statistics, probability theory, that was my field Esoteric stuff, I won t go into it here.What mind is capable to commit an ugly, senseless crime The Book of Evidence is a story of a deviated mind and John Banville tells his tale masterfully Art and crime get interconnected and the book is full of despondency.That fat monster inside me just saw his chance and leaped out, frothing and flailing He had scores to settle w [...]


    3. I really enjoyed this book because I really enjoy despair and self pity Especially if it s couched in a good story by an Irish writer with a fabulous vocabulary.Banville is the saint of sumptuous sentences Although the book is riddled with them, there s a real knock out on page 32 I drank my drink There is something about gin, the tang in it of the deep wildwood, perhaps, that always makes me think of twilight and mists and dead maidens Tonight it tinkled in my mouth like secret laughter Okay, t [...]



    4. A Hangover with a VengeanceIs it possible to explain a crime without rationalising and therefore justifying it This is the issue posed in The Book of Evidence There is probably no living writer in the English language who could better find the words to explore this question Banville s particular skill in two domains, alcohol poisoning and the subtleties of Irish snobbery, provides the framework for exploration.Drink and drunkenness play a big role in Banville s Quirke mysteries, but in Evidence [...]


    5. It struck me that quite a number of novels are written from the point of view of a really repulsive man, one of those bombastic egomaniacs who you d walk over broken glass to avoid, yet in a novel you re trapped with this guy in your ear, in your brain, on every page, every sentence No let up Why would any writer saddle themselves and why would readers want to get saddled with such inescapable loathsomeness In case you re wondering, here are examples of what I mean The Room Hubert SelbyExtinctio [...]


    6. Through his remarkable and dark humorous writing, Banville lets his hero Freddie narrate or plead GUILTY to his jury audience We, the readers You, Who must have meaning in everything, who lusts after meaning, your palms sticky, and your faces on fire It would be difficult not to think of Nabokov when you listen to self pity story of Freddie and the way he addresses the readers or mocks them, at times.Nevertheless, this is beautifully written and not lengthy You would not be disappointed if you r [...]


    7. Fourth attempt, fourth time abandoning The Book of Evidence.I made it a little farther this time, as I do each time I take a crack at it, but I ve still not reached one hundred pages, and I can t see myself ever picking this book up again But it s John Banville, and I am an Irish Lit guy, so I feel like something is wrong with me I can t read his books.But there s definitely something wrong with this book that isn t about me John Banville doesn t care about his protagonist, Freddie Montgomery Wh [...]


    8. This book is so believable I became throughly depressed reading it The self justification of the main character and self absorbed sociopath tendencies he displays were really quite upsetting I believed him, I was engaged, pulled in and wanted to do nothing than to pull him out of the book and shake him until he could learn to feel emotions for other people, and to feel remorse The writing is amazing, Banville is a genius This is one of the best books I ve read, but also one of the hardest the w [...]


    9. John Banville s Book of Evidence is a disturbing short novel about Freddie Montgomery, a man who has committed murder This is his account of his life and what led him to kill.Needless to say, it is disturbing Freddie rambles, filling his audience in on his life in bits and pieces, going back and forth in time without taking a break There are no chapter divisions, so this novel would be best read in as close to one sitting as possible, just to appreciate the nature of Freddie s associations and t [...]


    10. I read this book based on the recommendation review of a friend, and I am absolutely floored John, where have you been all my life I second all the reviewers praise of Banville s language even found myself feverishly writing down scattered phrases or entire paragraphs And how beautifully Banville controls the story delivering just the right amount of plot detail and character insight at just the right time Finally, I am struck by the juxtaposition of Banville s vigorous prose with his protagonis [...]



    11. Never have I liked a book in the first 10 pages that I hated in the next 210 pages The basic premise is that the main character I hesitate to call him the protagonist is in jail for killing someone and we find out over the course of the novel what happened He is clearly a psychopath or sociopath ormething, I don t know, he s crazy.At first I was hoping this was going to be some sore of Hannibal Lecter Professor Moriarty evil genius walks us through his crime situation Not so much It is clear t [...]


    12. Freddie Montgomery tells us the story of his life and his crime We can t be sure if this is post conviction or pre trial confession As such, he meanders through his adult life with brief flashbacks to sensual moments from his youth Describing gin it always makes me think of twilight and mists and dead maidens Tonight it tinkled in my mouth like secret laughter Discussing his theory that humans are not fit to live in this kind of world How could they survive, these gentle earthlings, in a world t [...]


    13. Remorse implies the expectation of forgiveness.There s a tradition of first person narrators talking about their murders, regretting, not regretting, not understanding, understanding In this case, Meursault, the protagonist of Camus The Stranger 1942 , comes to mind Even though Meursault provides the events as they unfold, rather than as a confession, there is something of his absurdity and detachment, even the circumstantial, that guides Banville s Freddie Montgomery.A obvious parallel, in ter [...]



    14. Montgomery, the murderer, the protagonist of this narrative, strikes me as he tells his tale to be the foremost unreliable narrator He is guilty, of course, of course, but of what Some sort of existential botch to hear him tell it Not murder where a person with a soul is taken forcably Oh no Montgomery is much too delicate for that He shirks duties and agrees with himself on every pleasure he takes, and regards himself first as a man deserving of enjoyment a connoisseur of pleasure that he curat [...]


    15. Hm Definitely wasn t what I expected Bit boring, actually But there are a couple of prime moments where the book kicks you in the face in the most hilarious way possible with how unreliable the narrator is So, not completely irredeemable.


    16. Banville is a genius The intricate works of imagination I could read this book again despite it being a little creepy


    17. This felt like an Irish John Updike Freddie Montgomery is arguably worse than Rabbit but the time period is the same and the language use and description was similar Also reminded me a bit of McEwan s despicable main character in Solar.Unfortunately, it was a bit repetitive I am starting to feel rather repetitive myself, ever since reading Didion my main complaint is that everything is repetitive Is this an example of life imitating art or just that through art I have finally noticed the repetit [...]


    18. Make no mistake John Banville s 1989 novel The Book of Evidence is great writing at its best The author fulfills readers expectations or at least the stereotype of Irish writers and their special gift for using the English language This tale is told by the churl and cad Freddie Montgomery who as the story opens appears to be telling a magistrate about the murder of a servant girl He admits freely admits to being the culprit So the main question in this mystery is not who did it or will he get ca [...]


    19. A witty and satirical narrative by a murderer, very reminiscent of Nabokov s Lolita Like that novel, the protagonist s moral degeneracy is intermingled with superbly ironic and satirical observations In Lolita Humbert Humbert remarks, You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style and Banville s narrator, Freddie, like Humbert, also has a delightful prose style, with metaphors to die for.The story is, however, poignant because Freddie struggles with his guilt far seriously than Hum [...]


    20. Better than The Sea I cannot decide if Banville is just not for me, or if he will turn out to be another slow starter, like Richard Powers I have at once the sense that I don t want to continue with his books and that I would like to read the two following in this little series.


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    22. These are the confessions from prison of a first person unreliable narrator who does not believe in free will, is convinced that the self is illusory, finds cause and effect problematical, and becomes a gifted scientist who finds reality probabilistic He admits to feeling intimidated by other people who seem so sure of themselves, and he sees himself as being easily influenced by the arguments of others, or at least prone to agree with them so as to feel good about himself or at least accepted T [...]


    23. Narrated by Freddie Montgomery who is waiting trial from jail for the murder he committed while stealing a painting from the home of family friend.The first half of the book is a weaving of Freddie s memories and current thoughts We learn that Freddie is from Ireland but has ben lving in the California and on a island in the Mediterranean with his wife and son Freddie gets into some trouble with gangster, owes money and is forced to go home to get the money At home, Freddie finds his mother to b [...]


    24. Why do Irish writers always seem to so predisposed to tell the story of the cad Percy Montgomery is the cad on this occasion, who tells his tale of selfishness and greed to the imaginary jury which he will soon face for real after committing a brutal, senseless murder.He tries to explain his motives Not an easy task for a man who abandoned his wife to gangsters and treated both family and friends with equal fecklessness at every turn The writer who came most to mind as I laughed and winced throu [...]


    25. Um homem dirige se ao tribunal para contar a sua hist ria uma hist ria sobre rela es dif ceis, sobre expectativas defraudadas, oportunidades perdidas, entretecida numa trama em que a voragem dos acontecimentos leva a um crime A estrutura do livro interessante, mas o fio da hist ria n o muito convincente, percebe se que cumpre ali a fun o da lamela no microsc pio est l n o para ser vista mas para permitir ver outra coisa O que realmente releva deste livro o personagem principal e narrador um home [...]


    26. Soggy old Irish drunk writes a cheap, two bit Clockwork Orange rip off about some creep who murders a woman for fun, seemingly because he likes watching women bleed Oh, and this is the same soggy, decrepit old suck up who wrote a cheap and blatantly hypocritical hatchet job on Ernest Hemingway calling him a sexist pig, natch for THE NATION Classy


    27. I admit to being biased I just love his style of writing, no matter the subject or the undesirability of the protagonist Or his reliability I am a bit confused, as when he first arrives back home, he describes Joanne as a girl of 17 However, when the will is read, it seems she must have been only a child, when it was madeDoesn t matter, but it is very difficult to find missed clues in an EBOOK.Loved it.


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