Master your Minecraft
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Best Books of the Year | December 8, 2014

    Tracey T.: IMG Best Cookbooks of 2014



    As the cookbook buyer for Powell's Books, I am the lucky one who gets to choose every new cookbook that comes into our stores. This means I have a... Continue »

    spacer

This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.


Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

The Silver Swan: A Novel

by

The Silver Swan: A Novel Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

1. Describe Deirdres interest in Hakeem Kreutz, as compared to her interest in Leslie White? What draws her to each of them?

2. "Why did he persist in coming here like this," Quirke wonders, about his visits to the Judge. "Surely no one would blame him if he stayed away altogether and left the dying man to his angry solitude." Why does Quirke continue visiting, considering all that has happened between them?

3. "Do nothing, his better judgment told him; stay on dry land. But he knew he would dive, headfirst, into the depths. Something in him yearned for the darkness down there." What is it in Quirke that pushes him towards the darkness? Does he find any relief in this story? Would he be better off ignoring this impulse?

4. Why do you think Kreutzs story of the girl brought back from the dead (p. 61) makes such an impression on Deirdre? How does it relate to what we learn about her life?

5. Describe the relationship between Quirke and Hackett? Do the two like each other? What do they have in common?

6. Why do you think Phoebe gets involved with Leslie White? What is she hoping will happen between them?

7. Do you think Deirdre loves Leslie? If not, how would you characterize her feelings for him?

8. What effect do you think Phoebes complicated parentage (the discovery of her real father; the role of Malachy and Sarah) has on her behavior in the novel? Do you see any connection between those effects and the effect on Quirke of being an orphan?

9. Look at the exchange between Rose and Phoebe on p. 165, in which Phoebe tells Rose she admires her. What do you think she admires about Rose? And what does Rose mean when, in response, she says to Phoebe, "You certainly are your fathers daughter."?

10. Do you think the relationship between Quirke and Kate is a healthy one? What brings them together? What do they get from each other?

11. Is Quirke a good father to Phoebe? How do you think he should be handling his role with her?

12. Why does Quirke fall off the wagon at the end of the story?

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Douglas, September 20, 2008 (view all comments by Douglas)
I enjoyed the second in this series, the Silver Swan, but not as much as the first, Christine Falls. It's not as thoroughly depressing, or compelling, or cold. The characters are not quite as larger than life. It's a worthy follow up to Christine Falls, but not its equal. I do recommend it, though, for readers who like mysteries that are dark and unresolved: these kinds of stories certainly put a song in my heart.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
Bookwomyn, September 1, 2008 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
I loved this book! "Christine Falls" was great so I didn't hesitate to grab Banville's (Black's) new one. It's as good as "Christine Falls"- the gentle Quirke is very appealing as protagonist and the story is immediately compelling.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805081534
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Picador
Author:
Black, Benjamin
Author:
Banville, John
Author:
Dalton, Timothy
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Dublin (ireland)
Subject:
Pathologists
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Mystery
Subject:
Detective/Hard-Boiled
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Hard-Boiled
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Historical
Subject:
noir
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series:
Quirke
Series Volume:
No. 2
Publication Date:
20090203
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
7 CDs, 9 hrs
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.25 x 0.9 in

Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Historical

The Silver Swan: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 320 pages Henry Holt and Co. - English 9780805081534 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I don't ordinarily read mystery novels, but The Silver Swan is no ordinary mystery. Banville's command of prose is arresting, and though this is a difficult book to put down because it is so expertly plotted, it is also impossible not to savor.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this stunning follow-up to 2007's Christine Falls, Black (pseudonym of Booker Prize — winner John Banville) spins a complex tale of murder and deception in 1950s Ireland. Pathologist Garret Quirke, surprised by a visit from a college acquaintance, Billy Hunt, is even more surprised when Billy begs Quirke not to perform an autopsy on his wife, Deirdre, whose naked body was recently retrieved from Dublin Bay. Though everything points to suicide, Quirke knows something's amiss and begins to retrace Deirdre's steps. Black expertly balances Quirke's investigation with chapters detailing Deidre's past, from her marriage to Billy to her shady business deal with Leslie White, an enigmatic Englishman who knew Deidre as Laura Swan, the proprietress of their joint venture, a beauty salon called the Silver Swan. As Quirke digs deeper, he discovers a web of lies and blackmail that threatens to envelop even his own estranged daughter, Phoebe. Laconic, stubborn Quirke makes an appealing hero as the pieces of this unsettling crime come together in a shocking conclusion. Author tour." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Black/Banville is a master of atmosphere; the fear and dread associated with hidden desires and deeds fairly leap off the page. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Black...continues his exceptionally nuanced crime series....[A] tense, engrossing tale of passion, crimes, and chaos shot through with lightning wit and radiant compassion."
"Review" by , "Swan is even more engrossing than last year's Christine Falls, the first thriller by Black... (Grade: A-)"
"Review" by , "[A]bout as undiluted an evening's pleasure as reading can provide....Christine Falls was the most artful noir mystery in years; The Silver Swan is better. The plot is grippingly propulsive, the evocation of Dublin is detail-perfect, every major and minor character is beautifully realized — and there isn't a clunky sentence in the book."
"Review" by , "The writing...is wonderfully evocative....Black has created a wonderful protagonist in Quirke."
"Review" by , "Readers familiar with the work of Banville will have no trouble immersing themselves in his second foray into genre fiction."
"Review" by , "[A] literary, gritty if less satisfying sequel."
"Synopsis" by , The inimitable Quirke — the irascible, formerly hard-drinking Dublin pathologist — returns in another spellbinding crime novel, in which a young woman's dubious suicide sets off a new string of hazards and deceptions.
"Synopsis" by ,
Quirke returns in another spellbinding crime novel, in which a young womans dubious suicide sets off a new string of hazards and deceptions.
"Synopsis" by ,
The inimitable Quirke returns in another spellbinding crime novel, in which a young woman's dubious suicide sets off a new string of hazards and deceptions
 
Two years have passed since the events of the bestselling Christine Falls, and much has changed for Quirke, the irascible, formerly hard-drinking Dublin pathologist. His beloved Sarah is dead, his surrogate father lies in a convent hospital paralyzed by a devastating stroke, and Phoebe, Quirke's long-denied daughter, has grown increasingly withdrawn and isolated.

 

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 (a.k.a. John Banville) among the greatest of crime writers.

"Synopsis" by ,
Two years have passed since the events of the bestselling Christine Falls, and much has changed for Quirke, the irascible, formerly hard-drinking Dublin pathologist.  His beloved Sarah is dead, the Judge lies in a convent hospital paralyzed by a devastating stroke, and Phoebe, Quirke's long-denied daughter, has grown increasingly withdrawn and isolated.

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 (a.k.a. John Banville) among the greatest of crime writers.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.