The Infinities

The Infinities

Book - 2010
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In his first novel since the Booker Prize-winning The Sea, John Banville gives us a dazzling new book that chronicles both a human family and a rather unholy gathering of immortals.
On a languid midsummer's day, old Adam Godley, a renowned theoretical mathematician, is dying. His family gathers at his bedside: his son, young Adam, struggling to maintain his marriage to a radiantly beautiful actress; his nineteen-year-old daughter, Petra, filled with voices and visions as she waits for the inevitable; their stepmother, Ursula, whose relations with the Godley children are strained at best; Petra's young man--perhaps more interested in the father than the daughter--who has arrived for an untimely visit.
And around the Godley family hover the mischievous gods: among them, Zeus, who has his eye on young Adam's wife, and Hermes, our narrator: We too are petty and vindictive, he tells us, just like you, when we are put to it. As old Adam's days on earth start to run out, these unearthly beings start to stir up trouble, to sometimes unintended effect . . .
Blissfully inventive and playful, rich in psychological insight and sensual detail, The Infinities is at once a gloriously earthy romp and a wise look at the terrible, wonderful plight of being human.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2010, c2009.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780307272799
0307272796
Characteristics: 273 p. ; 22 cm.

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shapjul
Sep 11, 2010

I enjoyed this book, which is much more about character and writing than it is about action. There were touches that bothered me (why does this need to be in an age where there is cold fusion?) but for the most part, I read it eagerly, if at a leisurely pace. I wouldn't say it would be a good travel book--it's not engrossing that way. But for a few pages before bed, unlikely to keep you awake, I'd recommend it.

A truly trivial point: Both library journal and the book jacket have it wrong, I think. Ursula is not a step-mother. Someone here (it could be me?) didn't read carefully enough.

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