January 06, 2005



Isn't there someone you can bother for a galley? That might appease your craving somewhat.


I found a reader's proof of Eclipse at the Strand (also found one of Padgett Powell's A Woman Named Drown); the Powell was way after the fact, but I can't remember how close, relative to relase, I was with Eclipse (I don't know sqaut about publishing, but if I know printing, I can't imagine these circulate much before the press run). But if I get lucky, I'll lend you mine.

I'll admit to not being a diligent reader, but I keep you on RSS becuase I expect you to be the best resource on Banville around. And I clicked on this headline first becuase something made me suspicious (and hopeful).

And look at it this way -- it's *only* six months (esp since the US release will be, what, four months later? Six?).


To quote the legendary John (Bluto) Blutarsky, I suggest you start drinking heavily.


At work I often hear talk about people and their favorite athletes and rap stars. Often, two people will pick up a new copy of a magazine and one will say to the other, "Hey, that's your boy on the cover." And then they'll talk about how much they love Nas, T.I., Randy Moss or someone like that. And I always think it sounds dumb because they obviously don't know the person they're discussing, though in many cases they'll seem to know everything about that person's life. But now I think I get it. John Banville is your boy. And its cool.

Jim Ruland

Did I mention I saw JB read from The Sea this summer?


Thanks, Nic. The folks at Picador have me on their list; I'm sure as soon as it's available, I'll get it.

Yes, Jim, if fact you have mentioned it. SEVERAL TIMES! And I'm envious every single time. Including this one.

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


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    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
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