John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. The author of thirteen previous novels, he has been the recipient of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian""Fiction Prize, and a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. He lives in Dublin.
Lee's thrillingly resonant baritone makes Banville's poetic evocation of the brooding Max Morden even more absorbing. As the story oscillates between two pivotal times in Morden's life-the strange events of a boyhood summer by the sea in Ireland, and the illness and death of his wife half a century later-Banville makes Morden's world fully rounded with endlessly intricate thoughts and perceptions. The lyrical writing, full of half-rhymes and alliteration, blossoms even more beautifully in the audio version than on the page, and Lee has a great sense for the material, varying his tone from sonorous heights to sing-songy to wistful sighs. Whether quickening with young Morden's naive lust for the mother in the tragic Grace family who he encounters at the beach, or growing heavy with the memory of his wife's helplessness at her cancer diagnosis, Lee convincingly inhabits the character. His Irish accent adds authenticity without distracting from the prose, though some listeners may find Banville's daunting vocabulary more of a challenge to keep up with on audio. The absence of chapter breaks and the minimal dialogue helps Lee's voice gather force as he reads, becoming a powerful wave that bears the listener along, a privileged vantage from which to witness the riveting spectacle of Morden baring his soul. Simultaneous release with the Vintage paperback (Reviews, Nov. 7, 2005). (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.