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The Lemur: A Novel

2.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  995 Ratings  ·  201 Reviews
A new thriller from the Booker Prize–winning and Edgar-nominated author of Christine Falls and The Silver Swan

John Glass's life in New York should be plenty comfortable. He's given up his career as a journalist to write an authorized biography of his father-in-law, communications magnate and former CIA agent Big Bill Mulholland. He works in a big office in Mulholland Towe
ebook, 144 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by Picador (first published 2008)
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Aug 28, 2012 Tfitoby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
Full disclosure here, after reading the announcement that John Banville writing as Benjamin Black would write as Raymond Chandler for a new Philip Marlowe novel I decided the scenario was too ridiculous for words and had to read what something so schizophrenic might be like before he ruins Chandler.

And boy was I suprised, this is one of the worst pices of fiction I've ever read, it's lazy and unimaginitive and deadly boring. The only plus I could point to is that the guy can evoke a sense of pla
John Glass used to be a cutting edge investigative reporter in Ireland. But he sold his soul when he married into a wealthy New York family who are hiding secrets. His father-in-law, owner of a communications company and a former CIA spook, hired him to write his biography. Glass is working in an upscale office on the 39th floor of a building owned by his father-in-law, surrounded by glass windows--but he is afraid of heights. He is miserable and dizzy in his posh location.

Glass is considering h
Aug 20, 2008 Aric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere around the end of the first chapter I started feeling like this book was going to be a disappointment. And that feeling never really went away.

I wanted to like it, but I never cared about any of the characters and the plot twists were more like plot leaps, having little connection to what had come before.
Ενδιαφέρον, μικρό και ευκολοδιάβαστο.
Περιγράφει έναν εγκλωβισμένο ήρωα, βολεμένο στην πλούσια καθημερινότητα του από την οποία επιχειρεί να τον αποσπάσει ο Λεμούριος του τίτλου.
Και ενώ ο Λεμούριος αποχωρεί από το προσκήνιο, ο ήρωας μένει να ξετυλίξει το κουβάρι της ζωής του, των υπαναχωρήσεων και των συμβιβασμών του, οδεύοντας σε μία αμφιλεγόμενη κάθαρση.
Οικογενειακές σχέσεις διαμορφωμένες από σωρεία μυστικών, επιλογές με γνώμονα το προσωπικό συμφέρον, την κοινωνική επιτυχία και το χρήμα και τέλ
May 17, 2011 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-authors
John Banville—the writer behind the writer Benjamin Black—used to thrill me with his surprising turns of phrase, peculiar situations and exposition of plot via the medium of a strong narrator’s speculative musing. Now I’ve come to expect these, indeed look forward to them; the thrill now comes from finding the literary nods and winks, the wild meanderings through art and philosophy as well as the damaged and defective characters—and of course the delicious language for which Banville is so well ...more
Sep 01, 2008 Sanjay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Banville’s alter ego, Benjamin Black, returns with this slender novella that was serialized in The New York Times earlier this year. Unlike Christine Falls and The Silver Swan, The Lemur doesn’t feature the dour Quirke, but instead dwells on John Glass, a one-time intrepid, passionate journalist, now burnt-out, living in Manhattan, and commencing work on the authorized biography of his father-in-law, William Mulholland. (With a name like that, Mulholland is, of course, a billionaire entrepr ...more
Mal Warwick
If you pick up this book expecting to return to Dublin in the 1950s in the company of the pathologist-detective Quirke, as I did, you may find it disorienting to realize that you’re in contemporary New York City with a wholly new cast of characters.

Quirke may not be in the picture in this short and tightly constructed murder mystery, but Benjamin Black’s trademark prose is abundant. I find it hard to resist a sentence like this one: “She was attending to her plate of greens with the long-necked,
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Fairly good writing but totally lame mystery. One of the thinnest plots I've ever encountered. I thought the physical description of "The Lemur" made him sound more like a marmoset, but I won't belabor mammalian classification.

One good line I got from this book:

"The internet is not the world, my dear." Amen, brother!
Jillian Moreno
Mar 18, 2009 Jillian Moreno rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
John Banville writes an really tight quick mystery, the abrupt and disappointing ending kept it from being 4 stars.
Tengo un problema con John Banville, o Benjamin Black, el seudónimo que utiliza este autor irlandés para escribir novela policíaca, y es que muchas veces me resulta inevitable imaginármelo manejando los hilos cual titiritero tras el escenario, y no hay nada peor que imaginarte a un escritor frente a su máquina de escribir haciendo su magia. La prosa de Banville es rica, sugerente, perfecta, calificativo este último que utilizan muchos de sus colegas de profesión, como Martin Amis o Don DeLillo, ...more
Paul Curd
The hero of The Lemur is John Glass, a one-time investigative journalist who has grown soft through his marriage into money. His wife, whom he married for love before the love wore off, is the daughter of William ‘Big Bill’ Mulholland, an Irish-American electronics billionaire. Big Bill has commissioned Glass to write the ex-CIA man’s authorised biography. Not wanting to do too much donkey work himself, Glass hires a researcher – the eponymous Lemur.

The Lemur is a very tall, very thin young man
Christina Nip
Nov 28, 2011 Christina Nip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a very small book but a very strong and powerful one. Although I do have to agree that at times it feels almost rushed towards the end. About half-way through the book, feeling how thin the rest of the book was, I kept wondering how Black is going to wrap up a story that seems to want to blow up, but I think the book was ended very skillfully, and I was left feeling, that feeling I get sometimes when I get to the end of a very good book, it sits around for a while, swirling inside.

I don't
Dec 30, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
I didn't really know what to expect with this book, other than "Benjamin Black wrote it" (rather than his alter ego, John Banville) and "it's standalone, not in the 'Christine Falls' universe".

At first, the "journalist writing a biography but gets sucked into a mystery" theme had me thinking Robert Harris' "The Ghost" (a.k.a. "The Ghost Writer"). However, it took a couple of turns and that image faded, totally leaving my head a little over 1/2 way through.

Some reviewers have criticized the end
Dec 22, 2009 Sunil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, noir, crime, banville
In this third Simenonesque pursuit, serialised for the NYTimes Mag, John Banville (Aka Benjamin Black) takes us across the pond from Dear Dirty Dublin of the 1950s to the concrete climate of Manhattan. The story like all noir fiction revolves around a suspense mystery that Banville unfolds slowly, yet cleverly as the narration moves from page to page.

I must say I liked it better than the earlier Benjamin Blacks - Christine Falls and Silver Swan, mainly because the writing is more simenoneseque
Dec 14, 2011 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel lazy for not having gotten around to reading any John Banville after having enjoyed The Lemur as much as I did. There is little I relish more than listening to foreign authors describe America and Americans, for all of their oddities and flaws and positive qualities; this book is a mystery set within an expatriate Irishman's privileged life in America and is full of these kinds of observations. I read that John Banville writes these Benjamin Black books much faster than his literary works ...more
Dorinna Thom
Jan 18, 2016 Dorinna Thom rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love books and begin each one with a sense of optimism and anticipation. This book, unfortunately, was a huge let down. I found the characters not only unlikeable but boring as well. I really didn't care about the mystery and I found the ending inept. I went back and read some of the 5 star reviews to see if I missed something in the book and concluded that we would just have to agree to disagree!!
Sam Pryce
Oh, John, John, John. Stop dressing up as Benjamin. This is the last, although it's also my first, straw. Not all hard-boiled fiction is 'easy', you smug little man. You make it look like a parody. Your characters say things that the embarrassed John Banville is saying in your head (e.g. 'You speak like you're in a bad play.' or 'I don't understand this.' or 'What?').

One of the most unimaginative plots imaginable. But the extra star is given to Banville's always sensuous descriptive quality. He
Dec 26, 2014 Kimbofo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ghostwriters or journalists who get themselves into trouble while researching the books that they are writing is not a new idea in fiction — think Robert Harris’ The Ghost and Alan Glynn’s Bloodland for a start. Into this “genre” comes The Lemur, a stand-alone novella by John Banville writing under the pseudonym Benjamin Black.

But this is not your average run-of-the-mill psychological thriller. Fast-paced and full of classy prose (and classy characters), it has all the hallmarks of a book that c
Juan Mayor
Benjamin Black revive el género policíaco con "El lémur", la historia de un ex-periodista que, para realizar una biografía autorizada de su suegro, un ex agente de la CIA y magnate de la comunicación, acude a un investigador cibernético con un asombroso parecido a un lemur. Este personaje, después de descubrir algo que hace peligrar la cómoda vida del periodista, y por ende la de su familia, es asesinado. El misterio recae en nuestro periodista antihéroe: ¿Qué fue lo que descubrió? ¿Por qué tuvo ...more
Jan 25, 2015 Fionnuala rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Dear Benjamin/John
When we started out together, it was spring and there was promise in the air. Then the summer came and that promise bore fruit, not all perfect but sufficiently sweet to sustain our relationship. By the fall, things had begun to over-ripen, and the rot had set in. Now that winter has come, there is nothing between us but dry dead prose.
I’m sorry, John, but the patsy in this story definitely isn’t me.

Jul 15, 2014 Aisling rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
John Glass, a disillusioned former investigative journalist, is commissioned to write a biography of his father in law.
His father in law is a former Cold War CIA agent turned muli-millionaire and head of the Mulholland Trust. Unable to motivate himself to do the job he has taken on, Glass hands the research over to a young obsessed and crusading reaearcher. When this young man is found dead Glass finds himself driven to discover who the murderer is and what had the researcher found out that led
Susan Toy
Jul 17, 2014 Susan Toy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I began looking for this author's books on the recommendation of a friend who knows what he's talking about when it comes to good writing - and I was not disappointed! The writing - descriptions, turns of phrases, the plotting, characters, and storyline - are all spot-on in this novella. If anything, I'd say it was too short, simply because I was enjoying the "way" it was written and wanted more. But there are many more books available written by Benjamin Black and I look forward to reading all ...more
Perry Whitford
John Glass, an eminent Irish journalist living in New York with his wealthy wife, agrees to write the biography of his father-in-law, an ex-CIA man and billionaire tycoon, 'Big Bill' Mulholland.

He hires a researcher to help him, Dylan Riley, who looks a little like a lemur. But when Riley phones Glass to tell him that he has found out some compromising information and attempts to blackmail Glass, the Lemur winds up dead, a bullet in his eye.

Mulholland had been a 'Cold Warrior', at the vanguard
Apr 11, 2011 Richard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, noir
I wanted to like this book because it's got a cool cover.

I know. I know how lame that seems.

I wanted to like this book because it kept popping up at the library and Third Place Books. I kept bumping into it, and usually I interpret that as I sign I ought to read a book.

I wanted to like this book because it can be read in one sitting. I've been super into novellas lately. They're like the half-marathon for readers. I find that I am a middle-distance reader; short stories are too, uh, short, and
Colin N.
In "The Lemur" John Glass is a once-successful reporter who lives an easy and wealthy life in NYC with his rich wife. He has been commissioned by Mulholland, his father-in-law, to write his biography. Mulholland is a former CIA operative, successful businessman, and a powerful individual. Glass hires Riley, a man he nicknames "the Lemur," to do some research and dig up anything he can find on Mulholland's past. Within a few days the Lemur is found murdered at his desk. Glass finds himself asking ...more
Sep 29, 2009 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Benjamin Black (the psuedonym of John Banville when he writes "entertainments") follows up two very good mystery/suspense novels with this paperback original.

It's ironic that I read this book just after finishing Stieg Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". Both stories include young researchers/investigators with excellent memories; both stories deal with hidden murders within wealthy families. However, Larsson's book is a massive 650 pages; Black's book is a slight 132 pages. I enjoyed t
Kathleen Hagen
The Lemur, by Benjamin Black, AKA John Danville, c-plus, narrated by John Keating, produced by Macmillan Audio, downloaded from

I gave this book a low score because, first of all I was teed off that I bought it at all. I thought it was the third one in the Christine Falls series. Instead, it is a strange little story about a man, John Glass, a has-been journalist married to Louise, a billionaire’s daughter. John is hired to write the biography of his father-in-law’s life, a long way
Rene Saller
Purely on the sentence level, this novel is quite well written. No surprise there--Benjamin Black is the alter ego of John Banville, who uses his real name exclusively for his "serious literary fiction" and cranks out thrillers and detective novels under the Benjamin Black pseudonym. I have marveled over the beautiful craftsmanship of the other Benjamin Black novels I've read, especially after I read in The New Yorker that he writes them in a matter of months, but The Lemur reads as if it was to ...more
Shonna Froebel
Nov 18, 2012 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a nice short mystery, only 4 CDs. It finished this morning, just as I was pulling into the parking lot at work. Talk about perfect timing.
John Glass has recently moved to New York from Ireland. His wife is American and her father is a communications company owner that used to be CIA. John has been hired to write his father-in-law's biography.
John used to be a journalist, hitting all the big world news stories until he burnt out. He also used to love his wife, but found that disappeared t
Benjamin Black is the name used by John Banville for his crime novels. Happily for the reader, Black has the same luminous prose as his alter-ego which enhances the world of crime he writes about in this book.

While most of Black's novels are set in Ireland, this one is set in New York and populated by some larger than life New Yorkers. The main character is an Irish man recently moved to New York with his American wife who is the daughter of a well known ex CIA agent who subsequently made millio
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Pen name for John Banville

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 r
More about Benjamin Black...

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