With much to regret from his last inquisitive foray, Quirke ought to know better than to let his curiosity get the best of him. Yet when an almost-forgotten acquaintance comes to him about his beautiful young wife's apparent suicide, Quirke's "old itch to cut into the quick of things, to delve into the dark of what was hidden" is roused again. As he begins to probe further into the shadowy circumstances of Deirdre Hunt's death, he discovers many things that might better have remained hidden, as well as grave danger to those he loves.
Haunting, masterfully written, and utterly mesmerizing in its nuance, The Silver Swan fully lives up to the promise of Christine Falls and firmly establishes Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) among the greatest of crime writers.
Listen to Christine Falls.
©2008 Benjamin Black; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio
Two points regarding "Christine Falls" and "The Silver Swan":
1) Benjamin Black is a fabulous writer who knows too well the weakness of the human condition. Those who have read Dennis Lehayne ("Mystic River", etc.) will love this series. Highly recommended!
2) Why doesn't Timothy Dalton narrate more audiobooks?! He is simply outstanding.
The richness of Benjamin Black's prose coupled with the emotive reading by Timothy Dalton made for an absolutely compelling listen. This is the kind of literary mystery book I love, laden with atmosphere and filled with arresting descriptions and deeply-drawn characters. I actually re-listened to many parts of this book just to hear the brilliant turns of phrase that Mr. Black has conjured from a seemingly deep well of creativity.
When I began listening to this book I was a little confused and had a little difficulty putting the pieces together. But once they came together I had even more difficulty turning off my IPOD and leaving the car. This is a GREAT story with breathtaking narration. Like a prior reviewer said, I would double back to hear the beauty of the authors phrasing. This is the first Benjamin Black book I have ever listened to and I was captivated by the imagery. Enjoyed every minute of this one and I am heading into Audible to buy more that he wrote and look up more that Tim Dalton narrates.
I bought this book after reading Christine Falls and like that novel this was equally interesting and compelling. The narration was excellent also. My one gripe is the ending. In light of the way the author concluded the story I suppose the novel is more an emotional tale of a complicated man than detective story.
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
"Everything rushes back. Everything replaces itself."
-- Benjamin Black (or John Banville), The Silver Swan
'The Silver Swan' is Benjamin Black's (alter ego of John Banville) second Quirke novel. There is something about Dublin in the 50s that makes sense for a noir novel. The rain. The brooding. The whiskey. The sh!t food. The damp seediness and decay (both material and moral).
Quirke is a perfect character for these novels. He is an off-the-wagon ('Christine Falls'), on-the-wagon ('The Silver Swan') pathologist who seems to have just as much trouble with his own family dynamics as he does with his work. He is all over ethical lines and exigencies, lonely, introverted, with a "hard heart and hot soul."
Black, the alter-ego, gives Banville the room and excuse to let loose a bit. He isn't aiming for poetic prose, but just mood and thrill. He's able to wack at a couple festering issues (Catholicism, poverty, sex, death, marriage, drugs, women, family) without having to make it so damn serious. In a period when a lot of good literary fiction is actually genre fiction, I rather enjoy it when an author is able to jack around the authorial persona AND play with the genre too.
This is a pot boiler that never is quite allowed to boil (think of trying to cook Ramen on Everest). Black is a tease. Quirke is a charade. His name is a game. That said, these aren't fun novels. I've only read two, mind you, but Banville/Black's books can only be considered funny in the way a kick in the balls or a chemical burn is funny. These novels are arresting. They are painful in parts. They are a throb, a choke, a tease and a cough, but never -- no never once -- a tickle. If you like Banville, crime fiction, genre fiction, etc., you should probably give these a shot. You won't tattoo many lines on your arm from these books, but they may leave you scarred anyway.
I enjoyed this book even more than Christine Falls, but not as much as Elegy for April. Timothy Dalton is fabulous, fabulous, fabulous in bringing the characters to life. I can't imagine a better narrator.
Yep. Great story and made even better by Timothy Dalton's dark voice.
The characters were multi dimensional and were revealed in the story in an interesting way -
His voice is just so rough and gruff and dark. Perfect for these stories. In addition he seems to understand the material and the words. His inflection are on target. He's a good actor.
This is an engrossing and darkly moody mystery, very well narrated. Several surprising turns of event, and interesting characters. I will read more of Black's books, for sure.
This is the second in a trilogy (so far) of Quirke mysteries. The stories are compelling, the characters very real and Timothy Dalton's eloquent narration is spot on. I've listened to all three novels and he enunciates so well I haven't missed a word. Best narration I've heard of the twenty books I've purchased from Audible so far.
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