Banville is one of my favourite contemporary novelists. He is heir to the great Irish tradition of good storytelling and lush language. But to my mind he displays a discipline that precludes sentimentality. This story is beautiful, but shocking: a young boy falls in love with the mother of his best friend and causes a cataclysm that shakes almost everyone connected to the families. Looking back many years later, after the suicide of his own daughter, the narrator can’t seem to separate the love he felt as a boy from the sadness he now feels. Yet, it is love that he still seeks.
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