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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Growing 'pearls' from our imagination

“For memory, we use our imagination. We take a few strands of real time and carry them with us, then like an oyster we create a pearl around them.” – John Banville

This year when Bob Dylan was named for the Nobel Prize in Literature, many were disappointed that the award didn’t go to Irish writer Banville instead.  He often has been spoken of as “the heir apparent” to the prestigious award.   Considered by critics as a master stylist, his writing has been described as perfectly crafted, even dazzling.    David Mehegan of the Boston Globe calls him "one of the great stylists writing in English today."  Banville said he very much enjoys crafting beautiful sentences.  “If I was asked to say what was the greatest invention of human beings, I would say the sentence,” he said.

Born on this date in 1945, William “John” Banville also writes crime stories under the pen name Benjamin Black featuring a somewhat crusty and humorous pathologist named Quirke.   As Banville, he has authored 18 novels, and as Black another 10.   He’s also done 6 plays, 2 nonfiction books, and 5 screenplays.
Regardless of what he’s writing, he has earned                        
 rave reviews and legions of followers.  His ever-growing major awards list (he’s won 26) includes The Booker Prize for The Sea, and being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  While The Sea, which also is one of his screenplays, has gotten the Lion’s share of awards, I would recommend his earlier book Body of Evidence as his best.

Banville said he’s grateful that people still care about reading, “…and it's great you can still fashion a life from literature.”

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