Michael's Reviews > The Infinities

The Infinities by John Banville
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Jun 10, 10

Read in June, 2010

As enchanted as I was by Banville's beautiful prose, this farcical meditation on what it means to be silly foolish human things, babes really, I can't deny I was ready for this novel to end. To say by closing page I was well-worn would be fitting. Time to move on, as though from an exotic restaurant, from a dinner perhaps appreciated more than enjoyed.

Other reviewers have noted the distinct lack of story here, and I can understand. While the novel has a feel of timelessness, in fact could be said to exist outside time, and is filled with turns of phrase meant more for the savor than blithe consumption, what chronology of events there is lasts no more than 24 hours or so and will leave some feeling a bit cheated out of a compelling event, let alone plot.

Even so, parts of this novel are quite humorous, which helps to mitigate tedium, but many parts also seem to endlessly bloviate at the reader's expense -- the conceit of the novel at times, lain threadbare -- and only rarely is a conversation between characters unbroken by narrative or descriptive or ruminative interjection. That can be frustrating.

Still, I enjoyed the novel. While the writing style is quite different in structure and tone, I found myself thinking of the highly stylized works of Jeannette Winterson, of whom I'm a fan. The Infinities is recommended with reservation, for those fans of stylized prose, eclectic taste, or a special affinity for Greek mythology.
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