Synopses & Reviews
In his first novel since the Booker Prize-winning The Sea, John Banville gives us a dazzling new book that chronicles both a human family and a rather unholy gathering of immortals.
On a languid midsummer's day, 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 nineteen-year-old daughter, Petra, filled with voices and visions as she waits for the inevitable; their stepmother, Ursula, whose relations with the Godley children are strained at best; Petra's young man--perhaps more interested in the father than the daughter--who has arrived for an untimely visit.
And around the Godley family hover the mischievous gods: among them, Zeus, who has his eye on young Adam's wife, and Hermes, our 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 start to run out, these unearthly beings start to stir up trouble, to sometimes 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.
One midsummer's day in Arden, the Godley family gather at their dying father's bedside, a collection of troubled individuals and fraying relationships. The gods, those mischievous spirits, look on silently; unable to resist intervening, they spy, tease and seduce their mortal playthings. Old Adam Godley's time on earth seems to be running out, and his mind runs to disquieting memories. Little does he realize, as he lies mute but alert in the Sky Room, what mischief the gods are capable of. Overflowing with a bawdy humour, and a deep and refreshing clarity of insight, The Infinities is at once a gloriously earthy romp and a delicately poised, infinitely wise look at the terrible and wonderful plight of being human. In electrifying prose, Banville captures the aching intensity, the magic and enchantment, of a single midsummer's day in Arden.