The Untouchable

I am nearing the end of John Banville’s The Untouchable. I have found its style difficult to gauge, it never seems to settle, a blend of older perhaps victorian modes and the dissonant awkwardness of the contemporary….but it is precisely this Unsettling which makes it so interesting along with its unexpected humour. Here is just one example of the magic language “The summer is ending. So too with my season. At the close of these reddened evenings especially I feel the proximal dark. My tremor, my tumour” This is an entire paragraph and an example of what it is still possible to do with language in the form that we call the novel. I must also say that I can’t help seeing a novel like this as a kind of vast, dense, intricately woven surface. (I see it this way maybe because of my painter’s eyes). Banville is a very significant writer indeed.

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