The Black Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel (Hardback)Benjamin Black (author)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 428 g
Dimensions: 223 x 143 x 26 mm
Banville channeling Chandler is irresistible-a double whammy of a mystery. Hard to think anyone could add to Chandler with profitable results. But Banville most definitely gets it done. * Richard Ford *
John Banville's convincing imitation of Raymond Chandler's literary detective brings to mind an older Humphrey Bogart . . . The plot, though new, follows the master's hand . . . The Irish understudy takes on Chandler's habits convincingly . . .What Banville, through Black, brings to Chandler is perhaps an enhanced literary sensibility. His Marlowe is alert to nuances of language. -- Mark Lawson * Guardian *
The Black-Eyed Blonde includes winks and nods to ardent Chandler fans, but the book will work as first-rate noir for anyone . . . It's remarkable how fresh this book feels while still hewing close to the material on which it's based. The ill-fated Robert B. Parker experiment with Marlowe, "Poodle Springs," did entrust the Chandler legacy to a pro, but not the right one. Now to find a writer whose affinity for the genre has been so well established? And who seemed to be channeling Chandler even before he was asked to, while still maintaining a very identifiable, charismatic voice of his own? It's almost too good to be true. * New York Times *
Raymond Chandler could write some mean prose, the kind that hits like a highball and can knock you off your feet even when you're sitting down. Imitations always run the risk of coming off as a bad parody - like, say, that last sentence. But Black (a.k.a. novelist John Banville) has revived Chandler's legendary PI Philip Marlowe in a new adventure that reads almost as well as the real thing. A perfume heiress hires the shamus to investigate the disappearance of her lover, and the mystery soon opens up under him like a sinkhole. It's not just literary ventriloquism: Black manages to nail not only Marlowe's voice, but his soul. * Entertainment Weekly *
When I heard that Benjamin Black, aka the Man Booker-winner John Banville, had taken on the job, I felt the Chandler estate had plumped for the right man. Like Chandler, Banville sweats over his sentences. And although the avowed model for Banville/Black's crime fiction is Simenon, there is a great deal of Marlowe in his lonely, quixotic protagonist Quirke . . . The plot is dead right, and the voice is spot on too . . . that this novel is so enjoyable is a testament to the effectiveness of the formula that Chandler laboured so hard to perfect. * Daily Telegraph *
You might well be suspicious of the current trend for posthumous piggy-backing and I wouldn't blame you. But this one is the real deal, as sweet and bitter as the perfectly mixed gimlet . . . It takes a brilliant writer to make such an unreal character real: Chandler was and Banville is. It's a perfect match . . . Perhaps Chandler could have written a better Marlowe novel, but I can't think of anyone else who could. * Scotland on Sunday *
'Benjamin Black, author of the Quirke series of crime novels set in Dublin in the Fifties - aka Man Booker Prize-winning John Banville - reveals a knack for channelling the grand master of noir. . . Black ticks all the boxes - a man with a gun in his hand comes through the door more than once - and the set-pieces, which include an interview with a starlet on a back-lot and a visit to a creepy, swanky country club staffed by oddballs, are magnificent . . . More, please' * Evening Standard *
Banville lets us know from the very start of The Black-Eyed Blonde that we are in the safest of hands here . . . Banville has largely perfected Chandler's much-mimicked, seldom-bettered knack for similes and one-liners. Best of all, though, he conjures the world-weary loneliness of Chandler's creation, a character who, in just seven novels, the world saw far too little of. Banville/Black clearly loves writing this and the fun he's having - his affection for Chandler's world - shines through. An exceptionally effective act of literary ventriloquism and entirely irresistible. * Observer *
If anything, oddly, the book is probably better than an actual Chandler: more coherent, and more consistent, more careful. Banville is simply a more elegant writer. Chandler was a metaphorical rogue trader; Banville is a class act . . . This is perfect Mr Banville. * New Statesman *
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