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Starred Review. In this stunning follow-up to 2007's Christine Falls, Black (pseudonym of Booker Prize–winner John Banville) spins a complex tale of murder and deception in 1950s Ireland. Pathologist Garret Quirke, surprised by a visit from a college acquaintance, Billy Hunt, is even more surprised when Billy begs Quirke not to perform an autopsy on his wife, Deirdre, whose naked body was recently retrieved from Dublin Bay. Though everything points to suicide, Quirke knows something's amiss and begins to retrace Deirdre's steps. Black expertly balances Quirke's investigation with chapters detailing Deidre's past, from her marriage to Billy to her shady business deal with Leslie White, an enigmatic Englishman who knew Deidre as Laura Swan, the proprietress of their joint venture, a beauty salon called the Silver Swan. As Quirke digs deeper, he discovers a web of lies and blackmail that threatens to envelop even his own estranged daughter, Phoebe. Laconic, stubborn Quirke makes an appealing hero as the pieces of this unsettling crime come together in a shocking conclusion. Author tour.(Mar.)
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The Silver Swan raises two major questions: First, is Black-the-crime-novelist as good as Banville-the-novelist? Second, does The Silver Swan live up to expectations raised by Christine Falls? Not surprisingly, critics diverge on both questions. A few think that Blackâs crime novels donât stand up to Banvilleâs best work. âThis distracting mediocrity doesnât suit him at all,â notes The Globe and Mail. Others cite Black as a genre-bending novelist intent on using the noir framework to successfully delve deep inside individualsâ psychologies. Either way, most critics agree that The Silver Swan, though well-written, is a slightly lesser effort than Christine Fallsâ"with too many characters and coincidences, a likeable but uncharismatic protagonist, and a phlegmatic plot. Critics hope that The Silver Swan will send readers back to Christine Fallsâ"or, better yet, back to Banville.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Don't buy this, watch the pbs series. Much less wandering in everyone's psyche to no purpose and much more mysteryPublished 2 months ago by D. Light
black is banville as a mystery writer ? but with the same depthPublished 3 months ago by Downtown Pearl
Needs better editor, lots of superfluous phrasing. Some paragraphs are tediously repetitive. Was glad to get to the very predictable ending.Published 6 months ago by Leela
A Quirke book. very good. Thought it was better than the first. I love the Prose, beautiful. Interesting characters in this volume. I'm sure you've read the other reviews. Read morePublished 9 months ago by John Carter
I maybe the only one but I keep thinking the setting feels more like the 1920s.Published 9 months ago by Delete
Benjamin Black has turned the conventional detective novel inside out, placing the melancholy figure of the man to whom it falls to solve the mystery, right at the centre of a... Read morePublished 10 months ago by keetmom