The Singularities: A novel
An anonymous man leaves prison after several decades. We watch his release from the point of view of some “mischievous godlet,” who comments with wry and witty observations. With no place else to go, the ex-con returns to his childhood home, sold long ago and now occupied by Helen who “wanted a different life, hand been wanting it for so long that even the dream of it had gone sour.” She is married to the son of a deceased physicist, a brilliant man whose theories about the universe have upended the world’s understanding of infinities. And now, the narrator shifts to that of the scientist’s unwilling biographer.
There’s good reason that Banville has won the Booker Prize twice along with his many other accolades. His command of language is supreme, with a stellar vocabulary and the ability to create sentences that rival Nabokov. (He also writes crime novels under another name.) This is a book to savor for the delightful wordplay, discovering new terms as you go, while also wanting to press ahead to see what happens next to the characters, some of whom are ghosts. As the opening line says, referring to our inmate: “Yes, he has come to the end of his sentence, but does that mean he has nothing more to say? No, indeed, not by a long stretch.”
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