Nothing Is Invisible

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Posts Tagged ‘Man Booker Prize for Fiction’

The Infinities by John Banville

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Infinities (2009)(Novel) By John Banville (The Book of Evidence (1989), The Sea (2005, winner of the Booker Prize for Fiction), and others))  John Banville‘s latest novel, The Infinities, the story of a comatose theoretical mathematician/physicist and his dysfunctional family (alcoholic second wife, fearful and weak son, self-abusing daughter), a daughter-in-law, two visitors (with the silly names of Roddy Wagstaff and Benny Grace), and the gods Hermes (by and large the narrator) and his father, Zeus, is set in a relatively alternative reality, much as our own with the notable exceptions of salt-water being used to run cars, cold fusion energy and the scientific acceptance of infinite universes (hence the novel’s title).  In fact, The Infinities is a look at the mix of the mortal and the divine, the finite and the infinite in the world, loosely based on the myth of Amphitryon (whose wife, Alcmene, who was seduced by Zeus in the guise of her husband).  Though there are many, perhaps excessive, yet wonderful descriptions in The Infinities, one may ask if basing the novel on the myth justifies the overly precious narrative device of the gods’ presence: an excessively witty and somewhat irreverent narration which in the end is so heavy-handed and distracting. The Times, nevertheless, found it “dark, funny and delightful”, according to the book jacket. (PR)

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Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Divisadero (2007)(Novel)  by Michael Ondaatje (Coming Through Slaughter (1976)The English Patient (1992), Anil’s Ghost (2000), The Cat’s Table (2011))   Divisadero, Booker Prize-winning author Ondaatje’s fifth novel, published four years before his latest, The Cat’s Table (2011), is an oft’ poetic tapestry woven of nature and the threads, tangled, dangled, worn and broken, of human ties: familial, choice, chance, coincidence, love…   Divisadero, is a street in San Francisco one of the principal characters says, semi-truthfully, she is from, and says, further, that it comes from a word meaning division and also to see from afar…and this is what Divisadero, the novel, is about: truths, semi-truths, perceptions divided, rewoven, and all seen, partially, through rain or mist,  in varying light, and from afar.  (PR)

See our posts on Michael Ondaatje’s novels, Coming Through Slaughter, and the Booker Prize for Fiction-winning The English Patient.

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There but for the, by Ali Smith

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 20 October 2011

There but for the (2011)(Novel) by Ali Smith (Hotel World (2001; shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize for Fiction), The Accidental (2005, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and won the 2005 Whitbread Novel of the Year award ) and others, including many short stories)   Ali Smith’s There but for the, a sharp, lively, immensely enjoyable and wordplay-filled observation of contemporary culture, full of its “temporary permanence” and “absent presence”, takes shape from the juxtaposed and obliquely interwoven stories of a number of “acquaintances” of Miles Garth, a man invited by a friend of a friend to a dinner party from which he never leaves.  Funny, sad, satirical, light and deep, replete with sharp observations (the internet is “a whole new way of feeling lonely“, among many others) and cultural questions (“What are stories for?“), it pays to keep in mind that Smith is, above all, not “trying to preposition you.” Wonderful reading. (PR)

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