Author(s): John Banville
Oliver Otway Orme--a man equally self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating--is a painter of some renown, and a petty thief who has never been caught . . . until now. Unfortunately, the purloined possession in question is the wife of the man who was, perhaps, his best friend. Fearing the consequences, Olly has fled--not only from his mistress, his home, and his wife, but from the very impulse to paint, and from his own demons. He sequesters himself in the house where he was born, and thus, he sets about trying to uncover the answer to how and why things have turned out as they did. A witty and trenchant novel about artistic creation and the ways in which we learn to possess one another--and hold on to ourselves--The Blue Guitar shows Man Booker Prize-winning author John Banville at the peak of his powers.
This engrossing and often beautiful novel is a true work of art that rewards careful reading Daily Telegraph Banville is a gorgeous writer who can nail an emotion The Times He shows himself, once again, as one of contemporary literature's finest and most expert witnesses... compelling and matchless prose The Observer The book is cherishable as a meditation on life's transience, the mysteries and fleetingness of love, the waning of sexual desire, and the lost domain of childhood The Irish Independent An elegant novel of tangled infidelity The Scotsman A brilliant study of memory, regret and inescapable alienation in relationships (...) a portrait of human frailty, it is surprisingly uplifting The Lady Banville's prose sparkles as Orme ponders the nature of art, his life, happiness, memory and love The Daily Express Banville is an expert in masculine interiority... achieving this by a luminous prose style The Independent Banville, the Nabokov of contemporary literature, can turn even a straightforward comeuppance tale into breath-taking literary art Press Association Banville is one of the writers I admire the most - few people can create an image as beautifully or precisely Hanya Yanagihara, author of the Booker-shortlisted 'A Little Life' Deliciously off-beat, gorgeous prose Daily Mail This is a book to be enjoyed for the grand mastery of its description and for the way it nails the challenges we face in attempting to understand the world, others and ourselves from the limits of our own perspective The Metro The Blue Guitar is arguably the funniest and most accessible of Banville's many novels ... beautiful, heartbreaking The Washington Post Eloquent ... Oliver has some of the wry comic haplessness of a Beckett character Wall Street Journal The cumulative effect of [The Blue Guitar] -the opening ludic exuberance, the subsequent steady softening, the sheer force of Banville's reflections on grief and loss-is moving, entertaining, edifying and affirmative. The Blue Guitar is a remarkable achievement: the work of a writer who knows not only about pain and eloquence, but about the consolations of learning how to think, to look and to listen The National Banville's descriptive gifts are undiminished as Oliver finally stumbles towards an understanding of love Mail on Sunday Elegant and affecting Times Literary Supplement Self-depreciating and funny ... Banville, with this narrator who is messily making it up as he goes along, who is writing a dodgy first draft in front of our eyes, seems at once to be having fun and to be utterly serious. Serious about the demolition work at the heart of this novel, a taking-down of the business of writing a novel, all those strivings, strainings, fakings and foreshortenings-and all the ridiculousness of alliteration-for-effect, with a rake of unlikely character and place names which seem right out of a sinister sort of nursery rhyme-all the artifice that the reader pretends not to see as such, all of the impulses and indulgences (stop alliterating!) with which the writer expects to get away. The Irish Times
John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of fifteen previous novels including The Sea, which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. In 2011 he was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize, in 2013 he was awarded the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature, and in 2014 he won the Prince of Asturias Award, Spain's most important literary prize. He lives in Dublin.