Ancient Light

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Oct 2, 2012 - Fiction - 304 pages
8 Reviews
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The Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea gives us a brilliant, profoundly moving new novel about an actor in the twilight of his life and his career: a meditation on love and loss, and on the inscrutable immediacy of the past in our present lives.

Is there any difference between memory and invention? That is the question that fuels this stunning novel, written with the depth of character, the clarifying lyricism and the sly humor that have marked all of John Banville’s extraordinary works. And it is the question that haunts Alexander Cleave, an actor in the twilight of his career and of his life, as he plumbs the memories of his first—and perhaps only—love (he, fifteen years old, the woman more than twice his age, the mother of his best friend; the situation impossible, thrilling, devouring and finally devastating) . . . and of his daughter, lost to a kind of madness of mind and heart that Cleave can only fail to understand. When his dormant acting career is suddenly, inexplicably revived with a movie role portraying a man who may not be who he says he is, his young leading lady—famous and fragile—unwittingly gives him the opportunity to see with aching clarity the “chasm that yawns between the doing of a thing and the recollection of what was done.”

Ancient Light is a profoundly moving meditation on love and loss, on the inscrutable immediacy of the past in our present lives, on how invention shapes memory and memory shapes the man. It is a book of spellbinding power and pathos from one of the greatest masters of prose at work today.


This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Northern_Light - LibraryThing

This book is the story of Alexander and two major points in his life. In 1950s Ireland when he has an affair with his best friends mother and 50 years later when as an aging actor he reflects on his ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - brocade - LibraryThing

I was impressed with how well the book flowed, considering that it's written in alternating time frames. The plot is beautifully layered, the use of language textural and rich. The ending surprised ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
7
Section 3
31
Section 4
58
Section 5
62
Section 6
87
Section 7
103
Section 8
131
Section 10
153
Section 11
168
Section 12
177
Section 13
203
Section 14
234
Section 15
253
Section 16
291
Section 17
293

Section 9
141

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About the author (2012)

John Banville, the author of fifteen previous novels, has been the recipient of the Man Booker Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Award, the Franz Kafka Prize and a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. He lives in Dublin.

Bibliographic information