Book of the Week: Ancient Light by John Banville

Our Book of the Week is Ancient Light by John Banville.


John Banville is a multiple prize-winning author, renowned for his sharp wit both on and off the page. In 1981, as a nominee to the Man Booker Prize, Banville wrote a letter to the Guardian in which he requested the prize be given to him. He stated he would use the prize money to buy every copy of the longlisted books in Ireland and donate them to libraries, ‘thus ensuring that the books not only are bought but also read - surely a unique occurrence’. He later won the prize with his novel, The Sea, for its distinctive stylistic prose.

I often find there is something completely addictive in Irish prose, a dry humour infused with an overwhelming tenderness for the characters and Ancient Light is typical of this mood. As Imogen Dewey says in her review: ‘Banville’s portrayal of rainy small-town Irish life is strongly evocative, and characters and scenes are recalled in wry and affectionate detail.’

Ancient Light is out now in paperback ($29.95).