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5 6
Format
Paperback
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13/20
Weight
290 gr.
Pages
288
Published
16 December 2016

The Infinities

On a languid midsummer’s day in the countryside, the old Adam Godley, a renowned theoretical mathematician, is dying. His family gathers at his bedside: his son, young Adam, struggling to maintain his marriage to a radiantly beautiful actress; his nineteen-year-old daughter, Petra, filled with voices and visions as she waits for the inevitable; their mother, Ursula, whose relations with the Godley children are strained at best; and Petra’s “young man” — very likely more interested in the father than the daughter — who has arrived for a superbly ill-timed visit.

But the Godley family is not alone in their vigil. Around them hovers a family of mischievous immortals — among them, Zeus, who has his eye on young Adam’s wife; Pan, who has taken the doughy, perspiring form of an old unwelcome acquaintance; and Hermes, who is the genial and omniscient narrator: “We too are petty and vindictive,” he tells us, “just like you, when we are put to it.” As old Adam’s days on earth run down, these unearthly beings start to stir up trouble, to sometimes wildly unintended effect. . . .

Blissfully inventive and playful, rich in psychological insight and sensual detail, The Infinities is at once a gloriously earthy romp and a wise look at the terrible, wonderful plight of being human — a dazzling novel from one of the most widely admired and acclaimed writers at work today.

About the Author
John  Banville

John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland. His father worked in a garage and died when Banville was in his early thirties; his mother was a housewife. He is the youngest of three siblings; his older brother Vincent is also a novelist and has written under the name Vincent Lawrence as well as his own. His sister Vonnie Banville-Evans has written both a children's novel and a reminiscence of growing up in Wexford.

Banville got educated at Christian Brothers' school and at St Peter's College in Wexford. After school he worked as a clerk at Aer Lingus which allowed him to travel at deeply-discounted rates. He took advantage of this to travel in Greece and Italy. He lived in the United States during 1968 and 1969. On his return to Ireland he became a sub-editor at the Irish Press, rising eventually to the position of chief sub-editor. His first book, Long Lankin, was published in 1970.

After the Irish Press collapsed in 1995, he became a sub-editor at the Irish Times. He was appointed literary editor in 1998. Banville has been a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books since 1990.

Banville also writes under the pen name Benjamin Black. His first novel under this pen name was Christine Falls, which was followed by The Silver Swan in 2007.

Banville has two adult sons with his wife, the American textile artist Janet Dunham. They met during his visit to San Francisco in 1968 where she was a student at the University of California, Berkeley. Dunham described him during the writing process as being like "a murderer who's just come back from a particularly bloody killing". Banville has two daughters from his relationship with Patricia Quinn, former head of the Arts Council of Ireland.

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