Elegy for April
Quirke — the hard-drinking, insatiably curious Dublin pathologist — is back, and he's determined to find his daughter's best friend, a well-connected young doctor
April Latimer has vanished. A junior doctor at a local hospital, she is something of a scandal in the conservative and highly patriarchal society of 1950s Dublin. Though her family is one of the most respected...more
How many more women can possibly fall into Quirke’s hapless arms?
How many more descriptions of someone smoking or staring into the bottom of a whiskey glass can I take?
How many repetitions of scenes in pubs, restaurants, dreary flats, are possible without the author quoting himself unconsciously? Already I’ve caught Black repeating a description and then passing it off as a character’s ‘recollection’ of an ear ...more
This is a hard bitten narrative with mesmerizing use of language. Black’s descriptions are wonderful, the second paragraph’s evocation of fog being among the best I’ve read, and fog becomes a leitmotif weaving its way throughout the entire narrative. Phoebe’s friend April has gone missing in Dublin. Phoebe elicits the help of their newspaper reporter friend Jimmy to he ...more
We start moving into deeper, blacker territory here with Elegy for April, a trend that continues through the two novels following this one. This book also happens to be one of my favorites in the series.
The book appropriately begins in the fog, which hangs over the story throughout -- and finds Quirke at the House of St. John of the Cross, a "refuge for addicts o ...more
Not convinced? Think about the sociology underlying Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series . . . the vast power of the moneyed forces fought by V. I. Warshawski in Sara Paretsky’s novels . . . the legal battles between powerful institution ...more
I wondered after I read this novel, which while atmospherically lovely, was somewhat lacking in character development, if it assumed previous knowledge of the protagonist, Quirke, a middle-aged pathologist/alcoholic in 50s Dublin, trying to dry out, but failing, and sometimes failing miserably. He appears in previous novels by the author but I found him a hard character to get to know just on the basis of Elegy for April.
Quirke is assisting his biological daughter, Phoebe, by looking into the m ...more
April Latimer, a junior doctor, is missing. Her friend Phoebe hasn't heard from her in several days, even though they usually talked on the phone at least once a day. (It is never explained why Phoebe and April are close enough to warrant so much communication.) Phoebe gets her (and April's) group of friends ...more
Phoebe thinks her friend April may have disappeared but April always was a bit of a wild one. Phoebe talks about it to Quirke. Quirke ruminates on his complex family history. He learns to drive. He occasionally does some work but when he does it’s not very good.
Various people suddenly want to speak to Quirke with t ...more
There was way too much attempt at character development in this book. Which would have been okay if it wasn’t all completely pointless. As a myste ...more
Poor Phoebe Griffin! A lovely young woman, bright, articulate, the daughter of one of the 1950’s Dublin’s most prominent surgeons and an Irish-American princess à la Grace Kelly, she works in a Grafton Street hat shop. By choice. Yet in Christine Falls, the first novel by Benjamin Black (the nom-de-plume of Booker Prize-winning Irish novelist John Banville), Phoebe discovers that she was in fact adopted by ...more
I love Quirke. I love his slow, lumbering inability to deal with life, and at th ...more
I loved the cha ...more
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