John Banville {Pdf Kindle ePUB} The Untouchable – PDF, eBook & Kindle eBook free

  • Paperback
  • 368
  • The Untouchable
  • John Banville
  • English
  • 09 July 2019
  • 9780679767473

John Banville ✓ 0 Review

Summary ☆ The Untouchable · PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook S his tortuous path from his recruitment at Cambridge to the airless upper regions of the establishment we discover a figure of manifold doubleness Irishman and Englishman; husband father and lover of men; betrayer and dupe Beautifully written filled with convincing fictional portraits of Maskell's co conspirators and vibrant with the mysteries of loyalty and identity The Untouchable places John Banville in the select company of both Conrad and le CarreW As readers we have all experienced or come across books that either make a siren call to us which we can t ignore or speak to us in a way that makes us drown within its pages or even sing to us a beautiful melody that soothes our spirit and enthralls us in a way nothing else does This book had a combination of all those whilst also painting vivid pictures that would definitely give artists around the world a run for their money Honestly I am not exaggerating when I say this as it was my own personal experience The Untouchable by John Banville is a Roman clef that is written from the point of view of Victor Maskell an exemplary art historian a ueen s man a double agent and a homosexual whose character is loosely based on Anthony Blunt a Cambridge spy Narrated by Maskell this book is part memoir and part confession taking us to that period in England where the educated often amused themselves with espionage and the erudite were often vociferous supporters of Marxism where to drink and debate passionately on all topics was considered the fashion where homosexuality was considered a crime and worse a thing of shame Those were the days when the youth rebelled at everything and experienced a certain amusement from it for all their rebellions were not really because they believed in the cause but was because it amused them Everything of that period amused them at least that s what one gets from reading this book Be it political affiliation sexual orientation criminal dealings cheating betrayal love friendship just about everything was a matter of amusement and thrown about to suit their present needs changed to fit their goals and ambitions never giving thought to the other We can call it a callous world cynical and selfish times we can even go further and look at those times with the disdain that is prevalent today but what we can t do is to ignore it Oh no it is a world and time that we can never ignore it is a time and world that is exciting even to those who disdain it it is a time that may have perhaps been the originator of the rebel movement an exciting time when the world was fraught with war and history that one has to acknowledge it and maybe salute those who lived in those perilous times and survived The book begins with Maskell a former British spy being uncovered as a double agent working for Russia during WWII Facing disgrace for his double role as well as for his sexual orientation Maskell is going through intense criticism from the community which is both angry and disgusted with the lies and which has resulted in the taking away of his Knighthood and also his removal from the position of Director Under these circumstances it is obvious that Maskell is beseeched by the press for an illumination on his exact role While he mostly remains silent he does get intrigued by a young woman who comes across to him as not belonging to this sect Being so intrigued he does accept her reuest for a private meeting where he learns that she wants to write a book on him What then began as an amusing game of cat and mouse between the young lady and Maskell where Maskell believes that he is simply stringing her along turns into a confession of sorts written by him as a memoir deeply affected by his own mortality Maskell perhaps feeling a need to cleanse his soul or maybe with a need to shock the young lady or even for reasons that could be as simple as being bored of all the secrecy and limitations gives forth an account that is as thrilling as any book on espionage written by the masters of that genre Banville brings alive those times in Cambridge where there was no thought or concern about right or wrong but life was all about living on the edge and indulging in the pleasures as if there was no tomorrow While the book is based on the story of the real life Cambridge Spies it is a fictional account where Banville takes the advantage of bringing in various tropes to suit the mood and create a flavor that is bursting with uniueness whilst also being familiar With Maskell s Irish roots Rothstein and Nick s Jewish ones Boy s boisterous nature and open admission of homosexuality Banville covers a wide range of subjects prejudices ideologies and a whole lot of history in a manner that is exciting thrilling and vivid The beauty of this book lies not in the subject or the tale although it does play an important role but in its language Banville brings to life the characters their individual and collective nature the often grimy and often sordid nature of the times the beauty of the surroundings even when it is bleak and grim the duplicity of espionage the threats the fears and the excitement and finally the subject of sexual orientation where disease and coming out were only fears that lurked below the surface Banville brings to life the debauchery the heartless and often cruel relationships that were maintained and the ennui that most inhabitants felt which led to dangerous pastimes Using dark humour as a tool Banville creates a story of espionage that throws light on everything from moral complexities in society to individual cynicism attitudes and vanity giving the reader a few laugh out loud moments whilst also making them experience a whole host of other emotions What makes this even special is the fact that nowhere does the pace flag or the story less suspenseful although I have to say that I did guess correctly in the beginning but was kept on my proverbial toes by giving way to constant doubts making it in short a wonderful suspense thrillerCharacters are the main crux of this story where you can actually say that this narration is character driven as opposed to being plot driven When a lot depends on the characters it is often difficult to maintain consistent growth or deterioration of the various characters that play a part in the story Here Banville shows his mastery by ensuring that every character even the smallest of them is developed beautifully While all the characters are seen through the eyes of the narrator Maskell they are so vivid in their description and portrayal that they actually come alive I can safely say that I lived this book instead of merely reading it Boy Nick Leo Maskell Vivienne uerrel Serena Danny and the myriad others weren t just names that I read but people I came to know and either liked or disliked depending on their actions or words You laugh with them you feel their pain you get angry and you feel proud these characters weren t mere characters to me but my friends and my enemies such was their portrayal The best part of the characters was that most of them were depictions of real life people given that this fictional tale had a founding in reality Trying to match the fictional with the real was a fun game that I had going while reading this book making it a fun read As with the broad outline of the story the author has also stayed true to the various historical references that are given which again added a special flavor A book which doesn t limit its scope to itself but actually makes you want to read and learn is a good book in my mind which this did making it a real pleasure to read Given that this book has adventure suspense history and covers a wide range of topics I don t think I need to say anything but to say that give this one a try and you might be surprised at what you find

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Summary ☆ The Untouchable · PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Inner of the Lannan Literary Award for FictionContemporary fiction gets no better than this Banville's books teem with life and humor Patrick McGrath The New York Times Book ReviewVictor Maskell is one of the great characters in recent fiction The Untouchable is the best work of art in any medium on its subject Washington Post Book WorldAs remarkable a literary voice as any to come out of Ireland; Joyce and Beckett notwithstanding San Francisco Chronicle Metamorphosis is a painful process for Victor an art expert and ambitious man who turns to the life of a spy In the end his ambitions ruin him and his friends betray him His journey of exploration begins late when he has been ousted in public deserted and he tries to make sense of his life through his memoirs I imagine the exuisite agony of the caterpillar turning itself into a butterfly pushing out eye stalks pounding its fat cells into iridescent wing dust at last cracking the mother of pearl sheath and staggering upright on sticky hair s breadth legs drunken gasping dazed by the light What makes a person want to live a disguised life that the truth is elusive even to himself This seems to be the exploration for both character and reader a uestion never really answered and one that cannot be fully explained What is both appealing and shocking is to see Victor at one stage of his life try to find his truth even at the detriment of those he love This is a grim story about betrayal and trust booze and love sexuality and personal evolution and of course spiesThe older Victor looks retrospectively at his life with remarkable calm and wisdom for someone who is incredibly turmoiled and at a cross road his present tense narration is one I wanted to follow one I wish had grounding in the narrative Great hot waves of remembrance wash through me bringing images and sensations I would have thought I had entirely forgotten or successfully extirpated yet so sharp and vivid are they that I falter in my tracks with an inward gasp assailed by a sort of rapturous sorrow This has been a surprising fourth John Banville read for me The novel is layered in both narrative perspective and style that sometimes the switch in styles can be offsetting as if one is being thrown into another book Although it explored similar nuances of identity self and rumination like most of his novels this one had of an austere texture So far Shroud has been my favorite

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Summary ☆ The Untouchable · PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook One of the most dazzling and adventurous writers now working in English takes on the enigma of the Cambridge spies in a novel of exuisite menace biting social comedy and vertiginous moral complexity The narrator is the elderly Victor Maskell formerly of British intelligence for many years art expert to the ueen Now he has been unmasked as a Russian agent and subjected to a disgrace that is almost a kind of death But at whose instigationAs Maskell retrace After reading something written so well it s a disappointment having only my own less elouent words available to praise it Maybe it s better to let Banville s passages sell themselves I ll get to those soon but first a bit of context The book I learned only today is a Roman a clef or less a true account of the infamous Cambridge spies disguised as a novel The focus is on Victor Maskell a composite figure based primarily on real life Anthony Blunt It s structured as a memoir by Victor in his mature years reflecting back on his days as a would be ideologue in the socialists camp stoicists really an intelligence officer in WWII a spy for the Russians a renowned art historian an uninvolved family man and a fancier of men Finding conflict in a life like that was no challenge Breathing life into an inherently cold fish was Victor was undeniably complex but there was not a lot of empathy to endear him to anyone The pleasure in reading the book was not in witnessing any ultimate humanization but in the language and intelligence of the author Here are some samples Judge for yourself Illustrating one aspect of the man Victor was The crowd was so large it had overflowed from the gallery and people were standing about the pavement in the evening sunshine drinking white wine and sneering at passers by and producing that self congratulatory low roar that is the natural collective voice of imbibers at the fount of art Ah what heights of contempt I was capable of in those days Now in old age I have largely lost that faculty and I miss it for it was passion of a sort And another as mentioned by a friend The trouble with you Vic is that you think of the world as a sort of huge museum with too many visitors allowed in Victor comparing his Irish upbringing with that of a Jewish friend We shared the innate bleak romanticism of our two very different races the legacy of dispossession and especially the lively anticipation of eventual revenge which when it came to politics could be made to pass for optimism On his evolving views speaking about the American system itself so demanding so merciless undeluded as to the fundamental murderousness and venality of humankind and at the same time so grimly unflaggingly optimistic More heresy I know apostasy soon I shall have no beliefs left at all only a cluster of fiercely held denials Victor reminiscing with old friend Nick Do you remember I said that summer when we first came down to London and we used to walk through Soho at night reciting Blake aloud to the amusement of the tarts The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction He was our hero do you remember Scourge of hypocrisy the champion of freedom and truth We were usually drunk as I recall he said and laughed Nick does not really laugh it is only a noise that he makes which he has learned to imitate from others The tygers of wrath he said Is that what you thought we were How to Write books tell you to use adverbs and adjectives sparingly When you re John Banville though and know all the right ones maybe the rule shouldn t apply He may not be to your taste if say Hemingway shots are your beverage of choice but as cups of tea go for English Lit types this guy s well worth a try