Darwin’s Pick: Ancient Light

Ancient Light—John Banville.   Fans of Benjamin Black should rush out to get this new work of his alter ego—John Banville.  Booker Prize winner Banville deliciously explores the vagaries of memory in this faux memoir of an aged actor—Alexander Cleve—who has suffered two traumas in his lifetime:  the suicide of an adult daughter and a torrid affair with the mother of his best friend in the summer of his fifteenth year.  With languorous attention to detail, using beautifully chosen words, Cleve cycles through successive episodes of each of these events, even doubting, from time to time, his own recollections, some of which are corrected in the course of this “confession.”  A charming, beautifully written and engaging study of the frailty of memory and a man.

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