By John Banville
An early vintage from the fellow Booker-prize profitable writer of the ocean. i'm for that reason i feel. So begins John Banville’s 1973 novel Birchwood, a singular that facilities round Gabriel Godkin and his go back to his dilapidated relatives property. After years away, Gabriel returns to a home choked with stories and melancholy. Delving deep into relations secrets—a chilly father, a tortured mom, an insane grandmother—Gabriel additionally remembers his first encounters with love and loss. instantaneously a unique of a family members, of isolation, and of a blighted eire, Birchwood is a awesome and intricate tale in regards to the finish of innocence for one boy and his nation, instructed within the brilliantly styled prose of 1 of our such a lot crucial writers.
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Additional info for Birchwood (Vintage International)
Then my grandmother smiled her smile, and wrote a gracious reply, and waited, and now Martha had returned, and she was to tutor me in the sciences and humanities, god help me. Michael and I stood with our eyes out on stalks and watched that grief bubbling until Mama turned at last and looked at us reproachfully. Her hand, behind her back where Aunt Martha could not see it, indicated the door. Reluctantly, we left the room, and plodded up the stairs with solemn tread, like two grave little old men.
She was the black sheep of the Godkins, if such a term means anything when speaking of my family. In the town she was known as a brazen hussy from the time she was a child, and was once, I believe, denounced from the popish pulpit in a veiled though obvious reference to bad companions. However, it was not until a certain summer of her young womanhood that she gave the gossips some real red meat on which to chew, and she was hardly sure of her own condition before the town also knew, in that mysterious way towns have of knowing such things, that she was expecting a little surprise.
This woman whom, in the innocence of my heart, I called my mother, she was…what? Tall, very slim, with very long fine brown hair which each morning she bound into a burnished knot at the nape of her neck and each night unbound again. There is in the dark past, like something in Rembrandt, a corner illuminated where her hair tumbles softly in silence around her shoulders in the yellow dust of lamplight. I remember her as neither young nor old, but thirtyish, you might say, awkward and yet graceful, with perfect hands, yes, graceful and awkward all at once, I cannot put it better than that.
Birchwood (Vintage International) by John Banville