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The Book of Evidence by John Banville July 13, 2007

Posted by bookgoddess in Authors, Books, Fiction, Literature, Reading.

June 7, 2007

Freddie Montgomery doesn’t really set out to kill Josie Bell, but it happens anyway. This whole novel is a harrowing presentation of “evidence” about his crime – about his life and the events leading up to the murder, as well a description of its aftermath.

I can’t describe this as a happy book, but it is a remarkable one. Banville’s use of language is original but clear; his characters are strikingly delineated though almost none of them are sympathetic.

There are literary echoes, too – the Greeks, Camus, T.S. Eliot – but you wouldn’t have to know these authors to appreciate the novel. I would describe it as Gothic, in the sense that it deals with the grotesque, and you keep reading if only to find out what new dreadfulness is around the corner. (No, it is not gory.)

Like the aforementioned authors, the novel poses questions about what it means to be human, and ultimately the questions will have to be answered by the reader. I can see why it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Highly recommended.

Tina Maura Albee
The Book Goddess


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