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Shroudby John Banville
Synopses & Reviews
One part Nietzsche, one part Humbert Humbert, and a soupcon of Milton's Lucifer, Axel Vander, the dizzyingly unreliable narrator of John Banville's masterful new novel, is very old, recently widowed, and the bearer of a fearsome reputation as a literary dandy and bully. A product of the Old World, he is also an escapee from its conflagrations, with the wounds to prove it. And everything about him is a lie.
Now those lies have been unraveled by a mysterious young woman whom Vander calls Miss Nemesis. They are to meet in Turin, a city best known for its enigmatic shroud. Is her purpose to destroy Vander or to save him--or simply to show him what lies beneath the shroud in which he has wrapped his life? A splendidly moving exploration of identity, duplicity, and desire, Shroud is Banville's most rapturous performance to date.
Axel Vander, a celebrated academic, is living out his retirement on the west coast of America. For decades he has lived with the secret of a tragedy of which he was both perpetrator and victim. A letter arrives out of the blue hinting at knowledge of his past and his secret.
Axel Vander, distinguished intellectual and elderly academic, is not the man he seems. When a letter arrives out of the blue, threatening to unveil his secrets - and carefully concealed identity - Vander travels to Turin to meet its author. There, muddled by age and alcohol, unable always to distinguish fact from fiction, Vander comes face to face with the woman who has the knowledge to unmask him, Cass Cleave. However, her sense of reality is as unreliable as his, and the two are quickly drawn together, their relationship dark, disturbed and doomed to disaster from its very start.
'In beautiful, lucid prose John Banville describes a tragedy so strongly rooted in history and character that, like all real tragedies, it could not happen otherwise' The Times
New in paperback from one of Ireland's leading contemporary novelists. 10,000 copies sold in hardback. Long-listed for the 2002 Booker Prize. Continues the stories of characters introduced in "Eclipse". "Banville is one of the great fictional stylists of our time" "Spectator".
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