‘A masterly study of grief, memory and love recollected’ Professor John Sutherland, Chair of Judges, Man Booker Prize 2005
When art historian Max Morden returns to the seaside village where he once spent a childhood holiday, he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. The Grace family had appeared that long-ago summer as if from another world. Mr and Mrs Grace, with their worldly ease and candour, were unlike any adults he had met before. But it was his contemporaries, the Grace twins Myles and Chloe, who most fascinated Max. He grew to know them intricately, even intimately, and what ensued would haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that was to follow.
‘A novel in which all of his remarkable gifts come together to produce a real work of art, disquieting, beautiful, intelligent, and in the end, surprisingly, offering consolation’ Allan Massie, Scotsman
‘You can smell and feel and see his world with extraordinary clarity. It is a work of art, and I’ll bet it will still be read and admired in seventy-five years’ Rick Gekoski, The Times
‘Poetry seems to come easily to Banville. There is so much to applaud in this book that it deserves more than one reading’ Literary Review
‘A brilliant, sensuous, discombobulating novel’ Spectator