Athena

John Banville, Author Alfred A. Knopf $22 (232p) ISBN 978-0-679-40521-4
While beautifully written and filled with intriguing questions about the nature of truth and the reliability of memory, Banville's new novel is neither as emotionally compelling as The Book of Evidence nor as stylistically challenging as Ghosts, with which it forms a loose trilogy. Although his name is now Morrow, the narrator of this shadowy tale involving stolen paintings and a doomed love affair is probably--but only probably--Frederick Montgomery, the tortured protagonist of Evidence and the unnamed narrator of Ghosts. There are several references to the murder for which Montgomery was imprisoned, and if the narrator is not the same man, then why does Inspector Hackett recognize him and assume his knowledge of the artwork purloined from Whitewater House, scene of Montgomery's crime? In fact, the narrator, who apparently has some fine-art expertise, has been asked by the menacing underworld figure Morden to authenticate these paintings, eight 17th-century works whose subject matter--various stages in the ever-shifting balance of power between men and women--mirrors the progress of Morrow's affair with a mysterious woman he calls ``A.'' The couple's sexual games grow increasingly dangerous as the police close in on the stolen paintings, but nothing is what it seems: the artworks are forgeries--or are they? Morrow's lover is Morden's wife--or is she? Banville creates a dreamlike world of pervasive unease and a sense of loss fueled by the narrator's unspecified guilt (he may also be responsible for a series of gruesome murders), but the point of all this angst is never quite clear. Nonetheless, the novel's evocative physical detail and provocative metaphysical musings make an impact. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-679-73685-1
Hardcover - 978-0-517-47182-1
Paperback - 978-0-7493-9995-5
Open Ebook - 139 pages - 978-0-307-81719-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-04297-1
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-330-37186-5
Open Ebook - 246 pages - 978-1-4472-1179-2
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.