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A collection of short stories from the early years of Man Booker Prize-winning author John Banville’s career, Long Lankin explores the passionate emotions—fear, jealousy, desire—that course beneath the surface of everyday life. From a couple at risk of being torn apart by the allure of wealth to an old man’s descent into nature, the tales in this collection showcase the talents that launched Banville onto the literary scene. Offering a unique insight into the mind of “one of the great living masters of English-language prose” (Los Angeles Times), these nine haunting sketches stand alone as canny observations on the turbulence of the human condition.
“Exceptionally good. . . . For fans of Banville, [the stories in Long Lankin] are probably required reading. . . . [The story ‘Nightwind’] shows a preternatural gift for showing the subtle ebbs of a marriage that has proven to be less than it was initially hoped for. For a writer in his 20s, Banville seems to possess a sense of the world that belies his youth. . . .The short stories in Long Lankin are well worth reading and offer an early glimpse of an author whose enormous talents are beginning to emerge. The fact that that author turned out to be the Booker-prize winning author of The Sea is less surprising after reading these nine stories.” –The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg)
“Two boys hide out in the woods, a girl meets a mysterious man on a bicycle, and siblings sneak down to the sea to look at a dead body in this slim collection of early stories from Banville. Nearly every story features two or three characters in a single scenario and the stripped-down prose often means to emphasize what's happening between the lines. . . . [Banville] possesses a rare command of language.” –Publishers Weekly
“Something resembling ghosts–or at least menacing presences in the woods and countryside–haunt the tormented young characters within these pages. . . . In the language and the tension of [the stories] you can feel a tie to the younger characters in Dubliners.” –Alan Cheuse, NPR
“A welcome reissue. . . . Even in a collection as early as Long Lankin, the subtle artistry of John Banville is evident. Already he trusts his readers. Already he conceals layer after layer of meaning in events that are either so mundane or so monstrous that at story’s end we are shattered, frightened by our helplessness, of not knowing what the right thing to say or do might be.” –Anniston Star (Alabama)
“Banville is that rare writer who can pack all five senses into a declarative sentence.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Banville is the most intelligent and stylish novelist currently at work.” —The Observer (London)
“The stories move unerringly with a nervous, almost aggressive speed, creating taut emotional situations. . . . Thoroughly Irish and thoroughly individual.” —Sunday Telegraph (London)
“Banville has the skill, ambition and learning to stand at the end of the great tradition of modernist writers.” —Times Literary Supplement (London)
“If Banville is capable of writing an unmemorable sentence, he has successfully concealed the evidence.” —The Washington Post
“Banville is a master at capturing the most fleeting memory or excruciating twinge of self-awareness with riveting accuracy.” —People
“Prodigiously gifted. He cannot write an unpolished phrase, so we read him slowly, relishing the stream of pleasures he affords. Everything in Banville’s books is alive. Bleakly elegant, he is a writer’s writer . . . who can conjure with the poetry of people and places.” —The Independent (London)
“Banville is the heir to Proust, via Nabokov.” —The Daily Beast
“A glorious stylist whose prose holds sustaining pleasures, both large and small.” —Newsday
“Banville’s mastery of language is an intense delight.” —Evening Standard (London)