Brent Legault's Reviews > Christine Falls

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
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's review
Sep 09, 2011

really liked it

Though Banville uses a different name on this novel, his voice is more or less the same as it always is. And it's his voice that saves it from itself, from the muck and suck of the deadbeat plot.

I was led to believe this was a mystery novel. I don't know why. Maybe I led myself to believe that. Maybe it was some review I read or thought I read. But Christine Falls is not a mystery novel. It is a mysterious novel. Nothing wrong with that. Except that it also has many mystery elements to it. Which leads me to believe that it wants to be a mystery novel. And a few of the characters (Andy and Claire, especially) seem to have been dug up from one of the lesser Jim Thompson novels and forced to act in a play they should have no part of. In fact, many of the Boston-area scenes seem to have an air of pastiche about them, like a creative collage using cut-outs from mid-twentieth century American magazines.

Lucky for us, Banville can write in an English that is completely natural in cadence while being utterly otherworldly in style. Lucky for us, his English elevates what could elsewise be considered a frowny-faced Frankenstein ('s monster, I know!) of a novel, a gag, a prank. It makes it worth reading. If you're into that sort of thing.
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