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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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The Lemur: A Novel Paperback – Deckle Edge, June 24, 2008

2.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Black (aka Irish novelist John Banville) offers this stunningly dark and mysterious tale in which journalist John Glass hires a man he deems the Lemur to research his father-in-law, of whom he is writing a biography. John Keating is simply marvelous here. His strong Irish accent does wonders when combined with Black's prose, creating a dark, brooding, and occasionally funny atmosphere that will surely draw listeners into the tale. As the Lemur, Keating reads with an American dialect that bears no hint of his heritage. As a result, the characters are, in their own way, unique and captivating—as is Keating's knack for storytelling and performance. A Picador paperback (Reviews, May 26). (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Black’s earlier forays into crime fiction are as dense and alarming as dark woods. His first stand-alone thriller is a more concentrated affair, a stretch of rain-pelted pavement, as befits its initial serialization in the New York Times Magazine. But narrative compactness does not equal simplicity of situation or psychology. No, this is a many-faceted tale of class conflicts and passion gone cruelly awry. Irishman John Glass was the sort of journalist of conscience people revere. Now he’s a burnout married to a wealthy American, saddled with a despicable stepson, and acrophobic in his posh, Manhattan skyscraper digs. An old-style smoker and boozer who would prefer to keep his feet on the ground, Glass ruefully agrees to write his commanding father-in-law’s biography. A CIA operative turned communications mogul, Big Bill has his secrets and expects Glass to keep them. But Glass hires a researcher, a funny-looking, faintly ludicrous, yet menacing guy he dubs the Lemur, who quickly ends up dead. Who killed the Lemur and why? Black’s mordant wit and profound world-weariness make for a classy, character-driven mystery. --Donna Seaman
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1St Edition edition (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312428081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312428082
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grant Barber on July 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was half-way through this book in no time, came up for a breather, and thought that it was an awfully quick read. The cynical side of me wanted to ask if this were meant as made-for-movie book, sort of like McCarthy's No Country for Old Men. Maybe Banville needed to fulfill a contract or was banking on a new car (surely he's one of the names who can support himself with writing). But it is published as a paperback, in the summer, and so that alone seems to calibrate expectations. So ultimately I've come down somewhere else. I think the book accomplishes what it sets out to do; on it's own terms it is complete and does not need to be longer. Banville does write lengthier novels as a rule, much more involved. I actually wanted Silver Swan though to move a bit faster. I think the first person narrator works for this short approach. Here's my ultimate test: short, narrative driven books can often be consumed like writerly candy--tastes good going down, doesn't nourish, and you certainly don't remember it next day. This book though, three days later, another novel read in the interim, stays with me. There is a consistent voice, a masterly control of plot, enough insight into character...the narrator still lives for me in all of his existential complexity. That's enough.
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Format: Paperback
Under the Benjamin Black pseudonym, John Banville offers a view into the luxury of wealth in Manhattan. John Glass, a former journalist unafraid to face the grit of the world, now labors in a glass-walled office high above the clouds. Intimidated by the spaciousness of his environment and tasked with the authorized biography of his father-in-law, Big Bill Mulholland, communications magnate and ex-CIA agent, Glass toys with hiring a researcher to pry into Mulholland's past- not for public consumption, but for his own curiosity. Glass nicknames the odd young man The Lemur. When the researcher (The Lemur) calls, making demands for what he has discovered, John is immediately anxious. What has he found out? But before Glass can take any action, The Lemur is murdered. With little information, John assembles what facts he can, guilt eventually pointing back to himself and his extended family: wife, Louise; step-son, David; and father-in-law, Big Bill Mulholland.

I greatly enjoyed Black's other novels (Christine Falls, The Silver Swan) and was delighted to start this one after finishing Australian Peter Temple's latest work, an appropriate segue from one angst-riddled author to another. However, I am not a great fan of short stories and the length of The Lemur does not, in my opinion, favor Black's style, the usual depth of character, layered plots and seductive language that are this author's trademark.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you pick up this book expecting to return to Dublin in the 1950s in the company of the pathologist-detective Quirke, as I did, you may find it disorienting to realize that you’re in contemporary New York City with a wholly new cast of characters.

Quirke may not be in the picture in this short and tightly constructed murder mystery, but Benjamin Black’s trademark prose is abundant. I find it hard to resist a sentence like this one: “She was attending to her plate of greens with the long-necked, finical concentration of a heron at the water’s edge.” Or this one: “His memories of those days were all hazed over happily, as if he were looking back through a pane of glass that had been breathed on by someone who was laughing.”

The only problem with extraordinary flashes of style like these is that the author’s language sometimes overtakes the story. I become so mesmerized with the words themselves that their meaning can become blurred and the context disappear. With The Lemur, I discover as I write this review that I can’t remember much about the story, only that I enjoyed reading it!

For the record, however, as I learned upon skimming through bits and pieces of the book once again, The Lemur tells the tale of a novelist who has hired a researcher to assist him in preparing a biography his father-in-law has commissioned. The researcher, it turns out, is a lot more than the disdainful young misfit he appears to be. He is, in fact, an accomplished hacker, and in short order he turns up dead. This young man, Dylan Riley, is the lemur of the title for the resemblance his face bears to the animal. The protagonist, a transplanted Irish writer named John Glass, soon finds himself caught up in the ensuing complications of Riley’s murder. Naturally, Riley’s stepfather, the superrich “Big Bill” Mulholland, hovers near the center of the mystery.

Enough said.
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Format: Paperback
An absolutely wretched book. This is, I suppose, an attempt at a mystery. The problem is that there is absolutely no way the reader could know about the key event from years earlier which of course, explains everything.

Very unfair to the reader. Of course, the main character in the book says "if you don't know who the patsy is in the room; then it's you"

That is very true - in this story the patsy is the reader.

The writing is shabby. I wish I could do a word search for the word "like" - because the author just loves that word. Every description starts with "it was like" or "he was like" or "the room was like" or the "mood was like", etc. That endless use of like was torture to read.

Ugh. What a terrible book. Wish I had not wasted my time on it.
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