By John Banville
An early vintage from the guy Booker-prize successful writer of The Sea.
I am as a result I think. So starts off John Banville’s 1973 novel Birchwood, a unique that facilities round Gabriel Godkin and his go back to his dilapidated kinfolk property. After years away, Gabriel returns to a home choked with stories and depression. Delving deep into relations secrets—a chilly father, a tortured mom, an insane grandmother—Gabriel additionally recollects his first encounters with love and loss. right now a singular of a relations, of isolation, and of a blighted eire, Birchwood is a amazing and intricate tale concerning the finish of innocence for one boy and his nation, instructed within the brilliantly styled prose of 1 of our such a lot crucial writers.
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Extra info for Birchwood
At this point Gabriel's glory fades, he forfeits my interest. In the beginning a dark stranger appearing out of the south, touched with the magic of death and dreams, now he becomes merely another squire and country gent, a name in a parish register, a part of the past. Who was he? I do not know. I am not saying that I have no opinions, I have, but I keep them to myself, for reasons not entirely clear. The Lawlesses, Joseph's brothers, fought for Birchwood, and what with the legal tangles, and the peculiarities of the will, not to mention the unshakeable faith in perfidy which there was on both sides, the fight was long and dirty in the extreme.
A trick, sir, another of their tricks! Joseph roared. Indeed he was right, was Joseph, for the peasants were a tricky lot, they died by the score, thereby forcing the authorities across the sea to send in a relief shipment of six sacks of Indian corn. The estate was in ruin, bled white by agents and gombeen men. The land had been hacked into tiny holdings where the tenants were strangling the soil to death in their frantic efforts to meet the rents and feed their annually expanding families. All that was to change.
She cried out softly under his thrusts, and, as I watched, a delicate arc of briar beside them, caught by a stray breeze, sprang up suddenly into the air, where two butterflies were gravely dancing. Lift your head! Look! The mirror's pale, unwavering, utterly silent gaze sent something like a deep black note booming through the wood's limpid song, and I felt, what shall I say, that I had discovered something awful and exquisite, of immense, unshakeable calm. I wandered farther then, by unknown ways, and soon I heard Mama's voice hallooing here and there, each cry a little closer.
Birchwood by John Banville