Reading John Banville is like being in the presence of a fathomlessly talented, witty, and intelligent magician — someone so captivatingly masterful at their craft, you suspect that they could make you disappear. If you want to know what I mean, read Banville’s new novel, The Singularities, which proves the 76-year-old Irish author deserves a summons from Stockholm ... A difficult book to summarize. Partly this is because Banville is more interested in the time and space between events, in insight rather than action ... This is not the kind of literature you skim. It demands your full attention. Indulge a stray thought, and you’ll miss it — not only what’s going on, but the gift, the beauty. Because time and again Banville stuns with sentences so dazzling they’re like a lightning-quick boxer’s jab — I blink, and read the line again ... Banville’s language actually re-enchants the otherwise dull world. Indeed, his sentences push against the numinous; several passages portray the spiritual tug his characters sense as they go along with their day ... If read properly, it’s an act of contemplation. Philosophical narrative, I want to call it, though the genre’s otherwise known as literary fiction. And here it is at its finest.
Ambitious ... Banville's narrative is thick with all manner of secrets and lies, spying and scheming ... The Singularities is Banville at his most inventive ... Regular readers of Banville will know not to expect much in the way of plot...and on this occasion, story plays second fiddle to style. But what style ... His verbal dexterity and poetic flourishes keep us absorbed throughout what is a complex, sometimes maddening yet ultimately rewarding work.
The Irish novelist John Banville writes prose of such luscious elegance that it’s all too easy to view his work as an aesthetic project, an exercise in pleasure giving ... The Singularities, Banville’s exhilarating new novel, offers itself quite overtly as a rumination on, or rummage around, ideas about representation. Like much of his best work, it aims to both scrutinize and confront one of the central challenges of the human endeavor: how to create an accurate portrait of things ... Ambitiously referential ... Banville capitalizes on his descriptive powers, but he is also concerned with exploring the ways in which truth is slighted ... For all its virtuosity, The Singularities doesn’t qualify as Banville’s masterpiece or summa. Toward the end, he gets a little lost in the Godley legend ... The whole thing has a slight air of, if not modesty — hard to picture with this writer — then a light-stepping, almost shrugging insouciance. But it’s still a triumphant piece of writing.