The Singularities: A novel (Hardcover)
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From the revered Booker Prize-winning author comes a playful, multilayered novel of nostalgia, life and death, and quantum theory, which opens with the return of one of his most celebrated characters as he is released from prison.
“A triumphant piece of writing…Prose of such luscious elegance…Exhilarating.” —The New York Times Book Review
A man with a borrowed name steps from a flashy red sports car—also borrowed—onto the estate of his youth. But all is not as it seems. There is a new family living in the drafty old house: the Godleys, descendants of the late, world-famous scientist Adam Godley, whose theory of existence threw the universe into chaos. And this mystery man, who has just completed a prison sentence, feels as if time has stopped, or was torn, or was opened in new and strange ways. He must now vie with the idiosyncratic Godley family, with their harried housekeeper who becomes his landlady, with the recently commissioned biographer of Godley Sr., and with a wealthy and beautiful woman from his past who comes bearing an unusual request.
With sparkling intelligence and rapier wit, John Banville revisits some of his career’s most memorable figures, in a novel as mischievous as it is brilliantly conceived. The Singularities occupies a singular space and will surely be one of his most admired works.
About the Author
JOHN BANVILLE, the author of seventeen novels, has been the recipient of the Man Booker Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Award, the Franz Kafka Prize, a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, and the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature. He lives in Dublin.
“Reading John Banville is like being in the presence of a fathomlessly talented, witty, and intelligent magician—someone so captivatingly masterful at their craft, you suspect that they could make you disappear. The Singularities proves that [Banville] deserves a summons from Stockholm . . . Time and again Banville stuns with sentences so dazzling they’re like a lightning-quick boxer’s jab.”
—Randy Rosenthal, Boston Globe
“A triumphant piece of writing . . . John Banville writes prose of such luscious elegance that it’s all too easy to view his work as an aesthetic project . . . Like much of his best work, [The Singularities] aims to both scrutinize and confront one of the central challenges of the human endeavor: how to create an accurate portrait of things . . . Exhilarating.”
—Leo Robson, New York Times Book Review
“A bold, mind-bending novel . . . The Singularities is Banville at his most inventive . . . His verbal dexterity and poetic flourishes keep us absorbed throughout.”
—Malcolm Forbes, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Flick to any page in any of his novels and soon you will come to a sentence or an image so perfectly contrived it stops you for a moment, achingly, like a beautiful stranger passing in the street. The Singularities is no different . . . In The Singularities Banville channels the spirit of Vladimir Nabokov, one of his literary deities.”
—Tom Ball, The Times (London)
“Banville is up to some fine mischief here . . . [His characters] have no way of knowing how luscious and finely wrought are the exquisite sentences in which their sad lives and inscrutable fates are described and revealed. Such is the beauty of Banville’s prose that every page of The Singularities is a perplexing and enigmatic delight.”
—Troy Jollimore, Washington Post
“Gorgeously written and superbly choreographed.”
—Kevin Power, Irish Independent
“One can linger in the lushness of the prose and admire the extraordinary capaciousness of Banville’s unique imagination . . . Banville is one of the most substantial Irish writers of the past 50 years. In this book, as in others, he has created a work that meditates in highly sophisticated ways on the nature of reality, existence, knowledge, art, love, and death. His continued experimentalism marks him out as the most eminent innovator in Irish fiction of the last 50 years.”
—Eoghan Smith, Irish Times
“A beguiling book . . . Astonishingly lovely.”
—Claire Allfree, Daily Mail
“Full of exquisite prose, humour and stunning flights of fancy, [Banville’s literary novels] have secured his reputation as one of the best stylists of his generation . . . The book is a pleasure to read. There is a descriptive verve, too . . . He seems to have had the time of his life writing this novel.”
—Ian Critchley, Literary Review
“John Banville is a marvellous and rewarding novelist . . . You read him—at least, I read him—for the prose, the richness of the characterization, all the better for seldom being fully fleshed-out, for the glittering and sometimes mischievous intelligence, and most of all for his uncanny ability to render mood and atmosphere into verbal pictures . . . Nobody does this sort of thing better . . . He is a magician, really.”
—Allan Massie, The Scotsman
“This novel is essence of Banville . . . There is the usual sumptuous style . . . He retains a brilliant grasp of imagery . . . There is a welcome sense of playfulness . . . Banville is clearly having a lot of fun.”
—John Self, Daily Telegraph
“A feast for Banville superfans and newbies alike, The Singularities is a multiverse triumph.”
—Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire (Best Books of Fall)
“Banville gives readers an exquisite and mischievously voyeuristic view into the lives of others . . . Banville’s crisp wit, sardonic humor, and unique style will keep readers on edge, smiling and questioning, entranced and thoroughly entertained until the very end.”
—George Kendall, Booklist (starred)
“Banville’s poetical fiction explores the implications of the theory of singularity through the human perception of memory, loss, and guilt, even as he slyly braids together characters and themes from his past novels into a meta-narrative about the haunting implications of parallel universes.”
—Library Journal (starred)
“An intriguing puzzle box . . . Banville seems simply to revel in the delights of creativity, piling up wordplay and allusions (to Joyce, Flaubert, Lewis Carroll, Nabokov), playing the god of his literary realm, and all this with constant flashes of exquisite writing.”
“An artful and atmospheric story of redemption . . . With penetrating psychological insight, Banville tracks the private struggles of these mismatched trespassers . . . The book boasts some of Banville’s greatest prose . . . A fine addition to a brilliant body of work.”