- Series: Quirke (Book 1)
- Audio CD
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (March 6, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1427200726
- ISBN-13: 978-1427200723
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 5.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 223 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,437,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Christine Falls: A Novel (Quirke) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Dalton uses all his pacing and vocal skills and his wonderful, deep Welsh tones to keep listeners engaged and on edge through this mystery set in 1950s Dublin and Boston. He skillfully sustains our empathy for widowed Dublin coroner Quirke, the alcoholic, angry and acerbic narrator who drags himself into solving the mystery of Christine Falls's death in childbirth and the disappearance of her newborn—a scenario that parallels Quirke's own experience. Black (pseudonym of Booker Prize–winner John Banville) is a fine writer, reminiscent of P.D. James in his care for language and his emphasis on psychologically complex characters, including Mel, Quirke's obstetrician stepbrother; Sarah, Mel's wife (and sister of Quirke's dead wife), whose love for Quirke is reciprocated; and Mel and Sarah's confused daughter, Phoebe. Black weaves his characters through a neat and original plot that descends into the dark depths of Quirke's family history and rises to the highest ranks of the Catholic church. Detective fiction readers will love Black's writing and Dalton's reading, and look forward to more from both.
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These walk the line between noir genre and literature more generally. They are set in Dublin in the 50s. Quirk is wealthy but ireland is not, and even the scenes with rich people have a drab and gray feeling. Nobody is capable of honest and effective communication. People interact but fundamentally don't connect. Quirk is a medical examiner but he hardly ever has to work or even to show up. He has no career ambitions, or romantic objectives. Despite being a very passive person he is magically attractive to women, but his relations with women are marked by an inability to fully connect. Feelings are always withheld. The past is grim and dark and haunts the present. Poor Pheobe is never going to be happy. Seems very irish to me.
Quirk is sometimes funny--once he buys a car even though he can't drive, and humor takes place. Hackett is amusing. They don't really "detect" anything, they just kind of blunder along and stuff happens. Quirke and Hackett have a bit of a holmes and watson thing going on: Hacket is the exceptional good guy in the series in that he actually accomplishes things. But the overall tone is regret, the weight of the past, and a kind of enervating gloom. "A Death in Summer" takes place in the long irish summer days, and involves a hotty frenchwoman, but it still always feels like a gray day in October.
Black is a very good writer and the Celtic gloom isn't oppressive or depressing. There's kind of a kafka-esque thing going on, where we are invited to laugh at the absurdity of human tragedy. Christine Falls is probably the bleakest of the series--they get lighter as they go along.
I have a feeling he's done with Quirk--at the end of the last novel things were looking up. Pretty sure if there is another one all that will have to change.
This writing talent presented as that of "Benjamin Black" belongs in fact to John Banville, a Booker Prize winning author (2005, THE SEA). CHRISTINE FALLS debuts a new branch of his work, a series featuring the pathologist Quirke. Categorized by the publisher as a "psychological novel," it is also called a "new kind of crime novel" and a "suspense novel." In my mind, it also belongs to historical realism, even the emotions of the characters, reminiscent of late 1940s films like THE SNAKE PIT and JOHNNY BELINDA, which commented on shortcomings in institutions without being documentary. Analyses aside, the novel is enjoyable for its well-drawn characters, so deeply motivated by personal circumstances to make a transition from poverty stricken Ireland to a bright and promising United States. It was not as easy as one might think.
Read this first book - then start your journey ... you'll want to get to know them all just a little bit more.