Sunday 11 November 2012

Ancient Light

Finished November 10
Ancient Light by John Banville, read by Robin Sachs

This short novel is told from the point of view of Alexander Cleave, a stage actor nearing the end of his career who is called unexpectedly to take a film role. The novel moves back and forth as Alex reflects on his memories of his first love, and finds connections to his present.
Alex's first love occurred when he was fifteen and had an affair with his best friend's mother, twenty years his senior. Their illicit couplings, the places they met, his feelings around it, and his devastation at its end are all memories looked back on, and he finds gaps and discrepancies that trouble him. He is also still reeling years after his daughter's suicide in Italy.
His film role pairs him with another troubled young woman and they find shared grief. The role he plays also raises questions in him around his daughter's death.
This is a book about memory, and its unreliability. A book about loss and about love. As Alex reflects and mulls over his past, we see the effect on him, and his outlook on life.

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