Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir by John Banville
'If you're interested in Dublin, or if you're interested in the novelist John Banville, or if you're interested in radiantly superb sentences about whatever - I'm all three - then Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir is a book you'll not be able to put down' The Guardian
'A trove of arresting imagery, from the lushly poetic to the luridly absurd ... utterly delightful' Irish Times
'Delicious ... Banville's soarings, like a hawk's, are both wild and comprehensive, taking in everything and imagining more' New York Times
For the young John Banville, Dublin was a place of enchantment and yearning. Each year, on his birthday - the 8th of December, Feast of the Immaculate Conception - he and his mother would journey by train to the capital city, passing frosted pink fields at dawn, to arrive at Westland Row and the beginning of a day's adventures that included much-anticipated trips to Clery's and the Palm Beach ice-cream parlour.
The aspiring writer first came to live in the city when he was eighteen. In a once grand but now dilapidated flat in Upper Mount Street, he wrote and dreamed and hoped.
It was a cold time, for society and for the individual - one the writer would later explore through the famed Benjamin Black protagonist Quirke - but underneath the seeming permafrost a thaw was setting in, and Ireland was beginning to change.
Alternating between vignettes of Banville's own past, and present-day historical explorations of the city, Time Pieces is a vivid evocation of childhood and memory - that 'bright abyss' in which 'time's alchemy works' - and a tender and powerful ode to a formative time and place for the artist as a young man.
Accompanied by images of the city by photographer Paul Joyce.