Banville was born in Wexford in southeast Ireland, and was educated at Catholic schools. Interestingly, in light of his considerable erudition, he never went to university (a decision he regrets); instead, he got a job with Aerlingus so he could travel. He has lived in for many years in Dublin with his wife and sons, and has served as literary editor of the Irish Times. His fiction is famous for its mordant wit, cold-hearted characters, and irradiated language. After several early novels, he wrote a trilogy of novels about great men of science (DOCTOR COPERNICUS, KEPLER, THE NEWTON LETTER); these novels surpassed the historical context, and became literary investigations of knowledge and meaning. He followed this up with another trilogy that featured one of the literature's most unreliable and sympathetic villains in the form of Freddie Montgomery, an intelligent, vainglorious, and obsessive young narrator. In THE BOOK OF EVIDENCE Montgomery writes from a prison cell after a motiveless murder of a maid. The book was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 1989; he would eventually win the prize in 2005 for his novel THE SEA. Known for his arrogance, Banville said in his acceptance speech that "It is nice to see a work of art win the Booker prize." He followed up his literary triumph with a quickly written crime fiction novel CHRISTINE FALLS, published under the pseudonym of Benjamin Black.
"[I]t is this idea...[of] the supreme importance of even the smallest and most fleeting detail...that animates THE INFINITIES and makes it Banville's best and brightest work....His prose's density is at its most balanced and nuanced in THE INFINITIES..."
"If THE INFINITIES has the bones of a novel of ideas, it's fleshed out and robed as a novel of sensibility and style....Perhaps what THE INIFINITIES is really about is how much you can get away with if you're a genius, a game-changer, a master (literally) of the universe."
"John Banville...is, without question, one of the great living masters of English-language prose. THE INFINITIES...is a dazzling example of that mastery, as well as of the formal daring and slyly erudite humor that make his novels among the most rewarding available to readers today....[It] surely will delight his many well-deserved admirers."
"I often had only the dimmest idea about what Banville was trying to say in this novel, or indeed, what even happens in it. But it's clear that Banville...loves playing around with language. And his zest carries a reader over most opaque thickets here, where sound totally triumphs over sense....In this curious little novel--part country-house caper, part allegory, all poetry--Banville reminds us readers that language, also, can be a divine gift."
"[H]aunting...[and] beautiful....Ultimately, THE INFINITIES is a kind of mystery novel, one that respects its mysteries too much to try to resolve them. The real subject of this unforgettable, beautifully written book is nothing less than the enigma of mortal existence. And who better than a cast of lusty, bemused, mischievous and quite possibly imaginary immortals to cast a new light on that?"
From the Publisher
Booker-winner John Banville retells the Greek myth of Amphitryon, in which Zeus makes love to a mortal woman in the guise of her own husband. Banville's version of the tale takes place during a single day, on a gloomy Irish manor where a family reunites after the patriarch, Adam Godly, a brilliant mathematician and physicist, has fallen into a coma. The novel is narrated with great literary brio by the god Hermes, who blends elevated classical lyricism with vulgar mischief.
Attending the deathbed of a renowned mathematician, a second wife and his adult children reflect on their personal demons, including the son's pretty wife, who has caught the attention of the mischievous god Zeus. (General fiction). By the Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea.