Ancient Light

Ancient Light The Man Booker Prize winning author of The Sea gives us a brilliant profoundly moving new novel about an actor in the twilight of his life and his career a meditation on love and loss and on the ins

The Man Booker Prize winning author of The Sea gives us a brilliant, profoundly moving new novel about an actor in the twilight of his life and his career a meditation on love and loss, and on the inscrutable immediacy of the past in our present lives.Is there any difference between memory and invention That is the question that fuels this stunning novel, written with thThe Man Booker Prize winning author of The Sea gives us a brilliant, profoundly moving new novel about an actor in the twilight of his life and his career a meditation on love and loss, and on the inscrutable immediacy of the past in our present lives.Is there any difference between memory and invention That is the question that fuels this stunning novel, written with the depth of character, the clarifying lyricism and the sly humor that have marked all of John Banville s extraordinary works And it is the question that haunts Alexander Cleave, an actor in the twilight of his career and of his life, as he plumbs the memories of his first and perhaps only love he, fifteen years old, the woman than twice his age, the mother of his best friend the situation impossible, thrilling, devouring and finally devastating and of his daughter, lost to a kind of madness of mind and heart that Cleave can only fail to understand When his dormant acting career is suddenly, inexplicably revived with a movie role portraying a man who may not be who he says he is, his young leading lady famous and fragile unwittingly gives him the opportunity to see with aching clarity the chasm that yawns between the doing of a thing and the recollection of what was done Ancient Light is a profoundly moving meditation on love and loss, on the inscrutable immediacy of the past in our present lives, on how invention shapes memory and memory s

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Ancient Light

  1. 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.

353 Reply to “Ancient Light”

  1. Once for a while you meet an author who you read for writing craftsmanship, for masterly style and then storyline seems to recede into the background It doesn t matter then if plot is too draggy in parts, if protagonists not always are likeable, if action is sometimes flagging John Banville is that kind of writer I have just fallen under the spell of his prose because it never fails Smooth, mellifluous, multidimensional, bursting with emotions Those older ones, faded and distant, and these recen [...]

  2. The picture is of a work by Andy Goldsworthy For me, it symbolises the opposing meanings of the narrator s surname, Cleave, and also my feelings about him.This is a beautiful, troubling book about blurred boundaries, blurred memories, identity, and layers of truth and lies Sixty five year old Alex Cleave is a narcissistic raconteur who looks back on his fifteen year old self s passionate summer with the mother of his best friend This is interspersed with reflections on grief over his daughter s [...]

  3. It was a scorching afternoon Wait Or was it an evening Ah, the flimsy line between erratic memories and induced imagination What I distinctly remember is my spontaneous decision to take a bath in the unruly ocean of Alexander Cleave s consciousness Wait Or was it Banville s A game of mirrors where truth and identity play a silent role in the undulating waves of painfully selected words composing the swaying tide of androgynous prose that wash the shores of beguiling poetry.Words Those inaccurate [...]

  4. There are no certainties in Ancient Light, just wisps, shadows and fragments It is as if John Banville has written the entire novel from odd scraps and shreds of possibilities The reader feels the breath of these possibilities on his cheek but cannot distinguish their exact shape We feel there may be connections between the events recounted in the present time of the novel and those of the past, between the real characters and the absent ones, but rarely are our suppositions confirmed Out of all [...]

  5. The Mysteries of the KitchenA young man s sexual fantasy about an affair with a married woman becomes, if he lives long enough, an old man s nostalgic reminiscence of first love Or is it an unacknowledged trauma which crippled him emotionally and created an entirely mis recalled scandal Ancient Light isn t telling with complete certainty In any case, as Banville s male protagonist has it, what is life but a gradual shipwreck There are several connected stories hung on the memories of adolescent [...]

  6. There are moments, infrequent though marked, when it seems that by some tiny shift or lapse in time I have become misplaced, have outstripped or lagged behind myselfAnd for that moment I am helpless, so much so that I imagine I will not be able to move on to the next place, or go back to the place where I was before that I will not be able to stir at all, but will have to remain there, sunk in perplexity, mired in this incomprehensible fermata So it was, that I basked in the marvel that is Banvi [...]

  7. That s exactly how I remember it Banville is often compared to Nabokov so I suppose it s inevitable that he write his own version of a Lolita story but with the twist that it s from a male perspective this time Here Alexander Cleave, a boy of fifteen, is the victim Banville s use of language and his sense of humor are staggering He doesn t so much provide belly laughs as he does a nod or a chuckle for example a Hollywood film director stays at Ostentation Towers and another luminary is a profess [...]

  8. John Banville, as is usual with him, demonstrates than just one level in his narration and the novel carries multiple psychological messages and meanings More confusingly still, there was another mirror, a full length one, fixed to what would have to have been the outwards facing side of the inwards opening door, and it was in this mirror that I saw the room reflected, with at its centre the dressing table, or whatever it was, with its own mirror, or I should say mirrors What I had, therefore, [...]

  9. John Banville s perfect sentences flow without apparent effort Banville is a master, fully in control Alex, an actor from early age on, lives in a world where the past is real to him than the present so it is that everywhere we look, everywhere, we are looking into the past What is the exact nature of these memories though This novel examines that question in a most exquisite way.

  10. The three stars I m giving this book are actually erring on the side of generous, because my bafflement at the vague allusions to plot and coincidence that run through the novel without ever being resolved or illuminated or anything very much happening with them may in part have been my fault Turns out this is the 3rd book in a trilogy of which I had not read the first two books, so much might have been different and less frustrating than it was, had I read the earlier books.This is an extremely [...]

  11. Ancient Light is the third novel in John Banville s father and daughter trilogy involving Alexander and Cassandra Cleave, and can be read as a companion to Banville s earlier novels, Eclipse 2001 and Shroud 2003 Cassandra first appeared in Eclipse through her father s mid life, melancholy reflections of his estranged and possibly schizophrenic daughter She then appeared in Shroud through the dreamlike reflections of her lover, Axel Vander, an aging European intellectual Cass again appears in Anc [...]

  12. John Banville is a master word craftsman and every word is a carefully selected brick, placed just so on the foundation to create an astounding edifice Whether you like his latest book or not, you can t help but feel in awe of his power of meticulous and ravishing wordsmithing.This book focuses on a theme the doing of a thing and the recollection of what was done , otherwise known as faulty memory The entire novel is filtered through the thoughts of Alex Cleave, an aging actor, who is admittedly [...]

  13. Ancient Light is an elegant disquisition on how the hermeneutics of the past may lead to our conjuring of and reckoning with our contemporary selves The prose is an exquisite exploration of the depth of emotion through the act of rumination while much happens in the book, this is largely an interior book a book of cognition and interpretation The layers of grief, melancholy and loss, tempered by a desire for human connection moved me repeatedly The understanding of motives and the order in which [...]

  14. This book uses characters Banville has used before, in his novels Shroud and Eclipse Alexander Cleave, semi retired actor, his daughter Catherine Cass and a controversial dead critic called Axel Vander who bears a resemblance to the real life late Belgian critic and theorist Paul de Man Those who ve read these novels will already know something of the characters and what may have happened to them However, since it s possible that others, like me, have never read a line of Banville before and are [...]

  15. Ancient Light by John BanvilleNow he was speaking of the ancient light of galaxies that travels for a million a billion a trillion miles to reach us Even here, he said, at this table, the light that is the image of my eyes takes time, a tiny time, infinitesimal, yet time, to reach your eyes, and so it is that everywhere we look, everywhere, we are looking into the past p 202 It isn t that Alexander Cleave is an unreliable narrator, it s that his memory is an unreliable source Telescoping presen [...]

  16. John Banville is one of my favourite authors and Ancient Light comes highly recommended by its blurber Sebastian Barry, but I didn t enjoy it quite as much as I expected to That might just be because I loved The Infinities so much that my expectations were unreasonably high.Ancient Light is edgier than its predecessor Reviewers at GoodReads have noted that it s third in a trilogy comprising Eclipse 0n my TBR from way back and Shroud which I read ages ago, but didn t much like In the wake of The [...]

  17. A stunningly beautiful book And if the lead character, actor Alex, husband and bereaved father, is a little cold and narcissistic, this is than offset by the powerful writing of this book Banville s prose slips often into poetry and his musings on the fallibility of memory and the joys but it seems mostly pains of the past make for a fascinating place into which, as a reader to settle.

  18. Ah amor feliz Mais que feliz Feliz amante Para sempre a querer fruir, em pleno hausto, Para sempre a estuar de vida palpitante, Acima da paix o humana e sua lida Que deixa o cora o desconsolado e exausto, A fronte incendiada e l ngua ressequida John KeatsTHE CLEAVE TRILOGY Livro IIILuz Antiga Michael Hafftka, Memory Personagens principaisAlex Cleave Catherine Cleave filha de Alex e Lydia Lydia mulher de Alex Celia Grey amante de Alex Pequeno resumoAlex Cleave o narrador dez anos depois dos acont [...]

  19. This is the third novel in a trilogy, a real trilogy if you will, and unlike Banville s two previous groupings, the Revolutions Trilogy about the astronomers Kepler, Copernicus and, somewhat tangentially, Newton or the unnamed art history trilogy which may or may not share a narrator in Freddie Montgomery , Ancient Light continues the parallel stories of the Irish stage actor Alexander Cleave, his daughter Catherine Cass and the Belgian born deconstructivist and academic bully Axel Vander begun [...]

  20. ANCIENT LIGHT 2012 John Banville There are two references to ancient light in this novel The first reference p 69 tells us that, according to a code of chartered surveyors of the time, householders had a right to ancient light, i.e the sky must be visible at the top of a window viewed from the base of the opposite wall I didn t see where this helped me But then I came across the second reference p 202 Now he was speaking of the ancient light of galaxies that travels for a million a billion a tr [...]

  21. The Bud is in flower Mud is Brown I feel as fit as a Flea things can go wrong After devouring 267 pages of Ancient Light like a fifteen year old schoolboy I m left to reflect on the meaning of breathtaking From the opening 4 pages, which I instantly had to re read, to the end I was hypnotized, infatuated and dare I say, in love Love may be too strong a word but I do not know a weakerone that will apply She looked down at herself and then at me and raised her eyebrows and made an O of her mouth I [...]

  22. , DreamersCo dreamersandco 2017 06 arch , 65 65 , , , , 50 , 20 , , , , , , , , , , , , New Yorker Joan Acocella, Orwell , , , , 60 65 2005 Booker , 2012 .

  23. Drunk on LanguageFrom time to time, I read novels in other languages, most often French The shift tends to give a different perspective, removing me somewhat from the action, but at the same time having me breathe a different air, perfumed, exquisite, intoxicating me with the power of language itself So it is with reading John Banville even though he writes in English, it is not the language in which we talk to our friends, but something consciously crafted, where every phrase seems wrought and [...]

  24. El eje central de Antigua luz Ancient Light, 2012 , del irland s John Banville, es la relaci n amorosa que mantuvo Alexander Clave cuando ten a quince a os con la madre de su mejor amigo, la se ora Gray, de treinta y cinco a os Alex rememora aquella poca, cincuenta a os despu s, en una historia que es m s que un t rrido romance Recuerdo y olvido juegan un papel importante en las paradojas que nos depara la memoria Si bien los escarceos del joven Alex con la se ora Gray son el hijo conductor de l [...]

  25. Of the trio of trilogies that John Banville has now written, it seems with this summer s publication of Ancient Light that the earlier books the Revolutions trilogy of Doctor Copernicus, Kepler and The Newton Letter, and the Freddy Montgomery trilogy of The Book of Evidence, Ghosts and Athena have been trumped by the three strange and compelling novels centering on ageing actor Alexander Cleave, his painfully disturbed daughter Cass, and the literary theorist Axel Vander, who gave voice to the m [...]

  26. Not a whole lot happens in this book From the outset, you know that Alex had an affair with his friend s mother about 50 years ago so that s old news Then, as a 60 year old, he gets asked to act in a film, something he s never done before he was a stage actor Not a lot happens there either His leading lady attempts suicide and he ends up taking her on a trip to Italy where his daughter took her own life some time previously We never find out why Basically it goes on and on using otentacious and [...]

  27. Banville is an exquisite writer and his skill is on full display in this novel Unfortunately, the perfection of his descriptions can have the effect of making the emotions described in this novel which should be incredibly intense, given that they include first love and the death of a child seem removed and borderline clinical Having read several other Banville novels, I trust, however, that the seeming remoteness of the narrative voice is a deliberate stylistic choice Once I accepted the novel [...]

  28. Beautifully written, with such descriptive passages that you felt you were experiencing the same emotions that Alex was experiencing I read this book however at a fairly emotional time Alex was remembering past love, as am I at the minute It s perhaps due to this that it struck such a chord with me Half remembered situations, rose tinted glasses peering into the past, nostalgic pining,events that shaped your future self, all combines to make it a beautiful, and gentle read A read that will haunt [...]

  29. When John Banville puts pen to paper, the results are always exciting, intellectually and aesthetically His 2009 novel, The Infinities, still dazzles me with its perfect sentences, characters revealed in their depths and complexities, and a charming conceit which updates and makes real the influence of the ancient Greek gods the eponymous Infinities on Earth s mere mortals His scientist novels Dr Copernicus, and Kepler are both intriguing Yet despite my own fan status, I did not love Ancient Lig [...]

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