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Long Lankin (Vintage International Original) Paperback – July 2, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for John Banville and Long Lankin:

“Banville is that rare writer who can pack all five senses into a declarative sentence.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Banville is the most intelligent and stylish novelist currently at work.”
The Observer (London)

“The stories move unerringly with a nervous, almost aggressive speed, creating taut emotional situations. . . . Thoroughly Irish and thoroughly individual.”
Sunday Telegraph (London)

“Banville has the skill, ambition and learning to stand at the end of the great tradition of modernist writers.”
Times Literary Supplement (London)

“If Banville is capable of writing an unmemorable sentence, he has successfully concealed the evidence.”
The Washington Post
 
“Banville is a master at capturing the most fleeting memory or excruciating twinge of self-awareness with riveting accuracy.”
People
 
“Prodigiously gifted. He cannot write an unpolished phrase, so we read him slowly, relishing the stream of pleasures he affords. Everything in Banville’s books is alive. Bleakly elegant, he is a writer’s writer . . . who can conjure with the poetry of people and places.”
The Independent (London)
 
“Banville is the heir to Proust, via Nabokov.”
The Daily Beast
 
“A glorious stylist whose prose holds sustaining pleasures, both large and small.” —Newsday
 
“Banville’s mastery of language is an intense delight.”
Evening Standard (London)

About the Author

John Banville, the author of sixteen novels, has been the recipient of the Man Booker Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Award, the Franz Kafka Prize, and a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. He lives in Dublin.
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage International Original
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (July 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345807065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345807069
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,349,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of thirteen previous novels including The Book of Evidence, which was shortlisted for the 1989 Booker Prize. He has received a literary award from the Lannan Foundation. He lives in Dublin.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
Originally published in a slightly different form in 1970, the current incarnation of John Banville's first book collects nine of Banville's short stories. Banville's skillfully crafted sentences are pregnant with meaning, his language is rich and evocative, but even more can be mined from the silences between sentences, the words left unspoken. In "Wild Wood," for instance, three boys in the woods talk about a woman who was murdered. The meat of this story is left untold; Banville leaves it to the reader to fill in the empty space. Similarly, most of the action in "Summer Voices" revolves around an old (possibly crazed) man who shows the body of a drowning victim to two children, a brother and sister. The real story, however, involves the relationship between the siblings, an innocence lost before their encounter with the dead body.

Nature, and particularly the sea (an instrument of death in "Summer Voices"), are recurring symbols in the stories. The sea surrounds the protagonist in "Island," a writer who, full of ambition when he leaves Ireland, grows stagnant while living on a Greek island. Or so says the woman he's with, the woman he's about to leave because she's too easy to understand.

Religion and death, estranged families and madness are recurring themes. "A Death" refers both to a death in the family and to the death of love. An old man at a funeral, ranting of evil and desolation and godless times, sparks the renewal of a discussion a couple must have had countless times before. Peter and Muriel, the lead characters in "Lovers," visit Peter's father before they leave town to start a new life -- a man who, having seen everything in his life slip away, is eager to meet his own death, but only after making sure that his son's hopes will also die.
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By Stephen T. Hopkins VINE VOICE on October 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
I zipped through the short stories in a collection titled Long Lankin, representing early writing by John Banville. I found it hard to separate my perspective on the recent long fiction, which I loved, from these raw sketches. With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy for most readers to see the great skill that Banville displays in these early works. I finished each story somewhat satisfied, but wishing that the characters were more fully developed, as Banville has done in his novels. Some great writers specialize in genre, and I'm clearly biased that Banville's novels allow him the space to explore life more completely. These short pieces show great skill and insight, but left me longing for more.

Rating: Three-star (It's ok)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Banville never disappoints. His stylish and precise prose captures the frailty and chaos of the human condition brilliantly. It's impossible to gloss over his narrative or read without full engagement. The words breathe, discriminately constructed to elicit a visceral pathos or empathy. First published in 1970, this thin volume of nine short stories pulsates to stir the senses and provides a fine escapism from the banality of everyday by its keen uninhibited focus on the hidden turbulence that rocks beneath the skin and sinew. The characters that emanate from Long Lankin are memorable and poignantly relatable. Very satisfying and intelligent read.
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