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The Infinities

Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
3.5 out of 5 stars (73 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On a languid midsummer's day in the countryside, 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 19-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.

©2010 John Banville (P)2010 Random House

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

family. even the gods seem to know about it.

I have to say it took me some time to get into it, but now I am quite taken with the narrator and listening a second time. And find myself thinking about reality too much. It's not action packed. But it's depth is charming. Nobody has the answers, the smartest and brightest of the deities themselves have white soft bellies. And everyone seems wrapped in this quiet comedy about life and love and family. Plus, it's oddly out of time. Futuristic concepts are mentioned while a nineteenth century cottage feel is described. THe path of it all actually made me stop doing things and rewind once or twice.Not out of confusion of action - but thought processes, which I appreciate. The daily rituals of human bodily crass-ness as envied by the interfering, fallible gods. Charmed is it I think. I was afraid it would be just sad and depressing - but it's more bittersweet...with a dollop the ridiculous of our own importance mixed in... I don't know what i expected with a main character in a coma, but this has been a tad bit amusingly addictive.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Banville is a genius

Britain has so many wonderful novelists just now but Banville is surely one of the best. The Infinities is witty, sweet, funny, generous to say nothing of as clever as all get out, and plays beautifully with the contemporary fascination with the conflation of science and literature. Beautifully read, too. Don't miss it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding Narration

Superb job by the narrator. Banville is Banville, which is to say interesting and excellent, but this narrator does him justice. Recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lucious writing, audio issues

I adore John Banville’s way with language. His chewy, delicious writing is perfect for the audio format, and this performer’s voice and delivery are generally a joy to take in. But there is an annoying problem with this recording, made worse if you have some hearing loss (as I do). The performer occasionally allows his voice to melt away, in a low-key dramatic flourish or a tenuous aside. I have trouble hearing him. So I interrupt Alexa to tell it to increase volume, go back a minute or five, and then I have to interrupt again to adjust the volume when the reader’s normal level of speech returns. This happens a lot in this novel, and it is something Audible technicians could and should fix.

As for the strange premise of the story, I thought it was weird and wonderful. Others may disagree.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best narrative performance for entertaining novel

This is the best narrative performance I have heard in using audible to enhance the entertainment value of the books I read. This wonderfully written story comes alive by Julian Rhind-Tutt as Banville seamlessly changes the perspective of the story from character to narrator to character and back. Banville is inventive and carefree and Rhind-Tutt’s performance is masterful. Banville is a wonder of his craft. A fun read.