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Ghosts (Frames: The Freddie Montgomery Trilogy #2)

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  547 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
In this brilliantly haunting new novel, John Banville forges an unforgettable amalgam of enchantment and menace that suggests both The Tempest and his own acclaimed The Book of Evidence. "A surreal and exquisitely lyrical new novel by one of the great stylists writing in English today."--Boston Globe.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published October 12th 1993 by Knopf (first published 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Asghar Abbas
Nov 21, 2015 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Some people are ghosts even when they are alive. This is what makes this a horror story; people. When it is the usual stream of consciousness fare that it is. Who writes more beautiful prose than Banville? Absolutely no one.

This isn't actually a ghost story, of course. But if you love rare words and unique writing, and Ireland as I do, then this is the book for you as it was for me.
☕Laura
Jan 09, 2017 ☕Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Ratings (1 to 5)
Writing: 4
Plot: 2
Characters: 2
Emotional impact: 2
Overall rating: 2.5
Notes
Favorite character(s):
Favorite quotes: "...the wind of something that was almost happiness wafted through them all." p.7
"He had a disjointed, improvised air, as if he had been put together in haste from disparate bits and pieces of other people." p.12
"...fear always holds at its throbbing centre that little, thin, unquenchable flame of pleasure." p.114
Other notes: I was really impressed by this book initiall
...more
David
Jun 05, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
here is the thing about banville. about the perfection of his prose. you can be 38 pages into this book and read "I too was eager already for change, for disorder, for the mess and confusion that people make of things...Company, that was what we wanted, the brute warmth of the presence of others to tell us we were alive after all, despite appearances" and you will close the book and run your hand over the cover and stare off into the distance at a tree. the way the light hits it in a square, ill ...more
Lyn
Dec 30, 2008 Lyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Confusingly, This guy gets a lot of grief on here for being pretentious. But, to me it is an authentic pretentiousness, like art is. Very unlike David Foster Wallace who tries to sound cooler than you or Michael Chabon who tries to sound smarter (and who prolly are.).
Hamish
Apr 06, 2014 Hamish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
On some level I guess I get the complaint that Ghosts doesn't really have a plot and that it sets up a premise and then mostly ignores it, though I think that's missing the point. For one, it seems pretty clear that most of the plot points will be picked up in the next book (Athena), but more importantly it's a book that isn't really terribly concerned with plot anyway. Like Nabokov's Glory or The Gift (there I go comparing Banville to N again), it's a slow meditation, and the enjoyment comes fr ...more
Bruce
Jul 19, 2009 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very intriguing, beautifully written novel, but not what I ever thought I'd like. There's no plot, it's rambling, emotionally diffuse and self-indulgent . . . so why did I like it so well that I'm going to start the sequel, Athena, immediately? The wit, wrenching self-exploration, and poetical expression of the narrator, Freddie Montgomery, are enormously affecting, both aesthetically and empathetically.

In The Book of Evidence, Freddie committed murder, and Ghosts can be likened to Crime and P
...more
Sandra
Sep 22, 2012 Sandra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gran-bretagna
Un amico mi ha fatto notare un mio limite nello scrivere i commenti ai libri che leggo, consistente nel fatto che quando scrivo un commento positivo mi dilungo e sono prolissa, al contrario quando scrivo che un libro non mi è piaciuto sono concisa, troppo breve.
Ha ragione.
Quando un libro mi è piaciuto mi perdo nel commento quasi con voluttà, come per prolungare il piacere che ho provato nella lettura; quando non mi è piaciuto sono sbrigativa, quasi per spicciarmi a toglierlo dalla mente, “non mi
...more
David
Jun 05, 2013 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Banville's command of language is second to none, but he's put his talents to work on far greater novels than this. It's a slight, slightly experimental sour-dream of a novel; a brief flirtation with conscience and consciousness is all that occurs before the reader is left adrift as adrift as the protagonists. A huge cast of characters are thrown at you, Dickensian stereotypes lurk in the corners, but there's never the effort shown to breathe life into any of them, and the lack of resolution (or ...more
Monica Copeland
I hate it when books build an interesting premise and then don't deliver. The mystery isn't solved, the grisly details of the narrator are not revealed. And there is much ponc-y art talk to add to my annoyance. I got the definite impression this was written by a pretensious git.
Taylor
Apr 24, 2009 Taylor rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
This is all style, no substance, and the style certainly isn't enough to save it.
una_sussa
Feb 22, 2017 una_sussa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"È così che penso a me stesso, nell'atto di mangiarmi vivo..."

Banville e la sua potenza descrittiva a cinque sensi...
Yalan
Mar 04, 2017 Yalan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written. The prose itself is all the reason to read this.
Bogdan
Jun 12, 2014 Bogdan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brits
I thought that even if "Ghosts" is part of a trilogy, it would not matter too much if I didn't read the first novel in the series. But I was wrong. When I was about 2/3 into the novel, barely understanding something out of what I have read until then, I decided to check out a synopsis of "The Book of Evidence". Only until then I could understand a little bit more what I was reading. Still this did not helped me like the book much more, as I couldn't get past the lack of plot.

The premise is very
...more
Daniel
Feb 28, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewers and critics and even the book's jacket talk of the menace and unsettling dread of Banville's "Ghosts." The patience of the story's dystopian landscape, the absorbancy of the narrator's compound eyes, the oddly limited prescience of the main character's mind -- they all do lend the tale a touch of the tragic, a hint of horror, a whisper of wickedness.

But (much like the birds in this book, which wheel and whoop and sometimes thud into invisible panes of glass) those disconcerting element
...more
Richard French
Feb 23, 2017 Richard French rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written, as Banville's books usually are, but the narrator/main character doesn't want anything or believe anything, so he gets into deep trouble. Though an admirable writer, Banville seems to have an affinity for the perverse, a trait that won't win every reader.
Perry Whitford
Freddy Montgomery, the Nabokovian killer from Banville's comic riot of a novel, The Book of Evidence, has been released after just ten years of incarceration, for "exemplary" behaviour.

He is living out the first weeks of his probated freedom on a rocky Irish island as an assistant to a professor compiling a study about an obscure (and fictional) painter.

Soon after his arrival some unexpected visitors are ship-wrecked near their house, all of whom seem to mirror characters from the painter's mas
...more
Cherylann
Sep 13, 2012 Cherylann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I embarked on my yearlong venture of UK living I thought, hey Critiqueen, let’s culturally assimilate. Thus, I bought Ghosts by John Banville, an Irish author who earned my respect by being profiled in the sacred pages of the New Yorker. Banville is an interesting case because he also publishes under another name, Benjamin Black. While Banville is the winner of the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sea, Black can be found in the genre fiction section, crime fiction to be specific. Genre fi ...more
Graziano
Aug 28, 2011 Graziano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: verona-library
QUOTES:

"Non sono mai stato il tipo che venera la natura, eppure riconosco un certo valore terapeutico alla contemplazione dei fenomeni naturali; credo che abbia a che fare con l'indifferenza del mondo, voglio dire con il modo in cui il mondo non si interessa a noi, alla nostra felicita' o a come soffriamo, con il modo in cui si limita ad aspettare guardando in alto, borbottando tra se' in una lingua che noi non capiamo mai." (page 71)

"Quello che la interessava era la stessa cosa, che interessava
...more
Bart
Feb 12, 2015 Bart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One doesn't read Banville for stories but prose. There is little story here, but there is rich prose.

To wit:

And so, quite empty, weightless as a paper skiff, I make my voyage out, far, far out, to the very brim, where a disc of water shimmers like molten coin against a coin-colored sky, and everything lifts, and sky and waters merge invisibly. (p. 20)

and

The professor stood and listened to the unsteady beating of his heart, thinking how fear always holds at its throbbing centre that little, thin,
...more
False Millennium
Dec 30, 2015 False Millennium rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
On some level I guess I get the complaint that Ghosts doesn't really have a plot and that it sets up a premise and then mostly ignores it, though I think that's missing the point. For one, it seems pretty clear that most of the plot points will be picked up in the next book (Athena), but more importantly it's a book that isn't really terribly concerned with plot anyway. Like Nabokov's Glory or The Gift (there I go comparing Banville to N again), it's a slow meditation, and the enjoyment comes fr ...more
Mirrani
There are books you get because they tell a story and there are books you get because they are the embodiment of the art of writing. This book is one of the latter, which is probably why I floundered with it so much, because at the time I picked it up I was in the mood for story over art. There was no plot here, which doesn't bother me at all, because I enjoyed the way everything was written, but for some reason I just struggled to become involved in the book until the very end. Like some who ha ...more
Dermo
Sep 11, 2016 Dermo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
you can accuse me of ignorance if you like. I can admit it. I have NO idea what this book was about. however I loved its lyricism, its evocation and philosophical insights.
Mark Joyce
Nov 06, 2015 Mark Joyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find reading John Banville uplifting and dispiriting in roughly equal measure: uplifting because every page features at least one sentence so exquisite as to induce laughter, wincing or some other physical reaction; dispiriting because anything else read or written for several days afterwards appears embarrassingly inadequate by comparison.

There are one or two similes that feel ever so slightly contrived but these stand out because the rest of it is so outstanding. Banville generally gets awa
...more
Jean Carlton
I'm not sure what I think! Maybe even a 1 rating. I had read Book of Evidence and liked it. I think he's a good writer and this is supposed to be the 2nd in a series of three but I don't remember enough about the first one to see much of a connection - very vaguely referred to - and am not motivated to read the 3rd in the series at all. Plot and characters just didn't develop for me.
I don't quit on a book very often and there was obviously enough curiosity to make me want to finish this one but
...more
Steffi
Sep 14, 2014 Steffi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mehr noch als im Das Buch der Beweise: Roman ist die Handlung fast nebensächlich neben den Monologen des Erzählers über Sühne, Schuld, Moral und Kunst. Bei den Schilderungen der Gedanken und Träume der Bewohner und zeitweiligen Gäste eines Hauses auf einer kleinen Insel sind oft sehr unwirklich, viele Geheimnisse und Abgründe werden angedeutet aber nicht aufgelöst. Zeitweise ist man sich nicht sicher, ob die Charaktere real oder halluziniert sind. Banville schreibt wunderbare Sätze und findet sc ...more
Miss Karen Jean Martinson
Johnny B. does it again! This book is a meditation, of sorts, on perception, on relationships, on society, on art. It continues, roughly, some time after The Book of Evidence, though Freddie Montgomery is a much more pensive person these days. No less callous, perhaps, but more pensive. His island becomes peopled with a cast of characters who are all guilty in various degrees. It isn't exactly pleasurable to hang out with this people, but it is intriguing, and I can't seem to get them out of my ...more
Konstantin
Feb 13, 2014 Konstantin rated it really liked it
Shelves: serious
[rating = B+]
A sequel that rivals the first, but in different categories entirely. First glance is one of a cast-away group who climb a hill finding an old house. Though you would think that this book has no relation to its former, it does. The main character, Freddie, looks on from afar. Towards the middle the novel concludes with the band of travelers and focuses solely on our newly-released convict. Most might feel that it is all style and no substance. This is a premature and hasty conclusio
...more
Cateline
Nov 21, 2010 Cateline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I sprinted through Ghosts by John Banville, the second in a trilogy starring Freddie our reluctant murderer. Reluctant...well sorta, kinda. Smile Our Freddie is a tortured soul for a certainty and this entry is a bit of a halfway house for him and perhaps his kind. Doppelgangers, art forgeries, references to other Banville characters flit through the pages bringing a smile of recognition to Banville readers, and bear us along on a grand ride.

Pick it up, but if so, buy all three. I can guarantee
...more
Steve
Apr 18, 2012 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Low 2. Banville once more falls prey to excess attention towards the wording of his prose as opposed to plot development. Though at times intriguing, the allegory inherent within this work is too convoluted and too veiled. Only those passages where the reader is reacquainted with the character of Freddy Montgomery save this from an even lower rating. Has he returned to try and reintegrate himself to society or are these the musings of a criminal mind trying to escape from the crimes committed?
Adrian Stumpp
Banville retells Shakespeare's The Tempest in this beautifully written book in which not a lot happens, the characters are unlikeable, and nothing is resolved. This is apparently the second book of a cycle, but I read it before knowing that, and can say it is enjoyable even if you haven't read the previous book. I'd be more enthusiastic about it here, since I really did enjoy it, if I thought any of my friends who would read this would enjoy it. I can't think of anyone specifically.
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Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland. His father worked in a garage and died when Banville was in his early thirties; his mother was a housewife. He is the youngest of three siblings; his older brother Vincent is also a novelist and has written under the name Vincent Lawrence as well as his own. His sister Vonnie Banville-Evans has written both a children's novel and a reminiscence of growing up ...more
More about John Banville...

Other Books in the Series

Frames: The Freddie Montgomery Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Book of Evidence
  • Athena (The Freddie Montgomery Trilogy, #3)

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“Tendo a non fare molto caso alle altre persone – l'ho già detto in precedenza, è uno dei miei difetti più gravi – e nelle rare occasioni in cui metto la testa fuori dal guscio e do una bella occhiata, quello che mi colpisce in modo strabiliante non è quanto siano diversi da me, ma quanto siano simili, malgrado tutto.” 0 likes
“Quello che accade non ha importanza; il momento è tutto. Questo è il mondo d'oro. Il pittore ha radunato il suo piccolo gruppo di persone e le ha poste in questa radura agitata dal vento, in questa delicata luce artificiale, dipingendole come angeli e pagliacci. È un mondo dove niente è perduto, dove di tutto è dato conto pur se il mistero delle cose è preservato; un mondo dove essi possono vivere, per quanto brevemente, per quanto tenuamente, nella sera affievolentesi dell'io, solitari e al tempo stesso insieme in qualche modo qui in questo luogo, morenti come sono, eppure fissi per sempre in un istante luminoso, eterno.” 0 likes
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