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The Infinities

by John Banville

The immortals, Hermes and Zeus, amuse themselves playing with the feelings of the Godley family as they gather waiting for the death of the patriarch, Adam. Communication is not this family’s strong point and there’s an uneasy drifting quality to all of their lives. This book reads like a summer’s day – warm, lilting, hazy, insubstantial. There are a few dark clouds on the horizon, but no serious threat.

Extract

Mind you, it is a nice question whether he was betrayed by Helen and my Dad, in the technical sense I mean. After all, Helen did not know the true identity of her divine lover, and thought he was her Adam, as why would she not? Then she decided it was all a dream and proceeded to re-enact as best she could what happened in it, this time with her true, that is real, husband. And so passionate was she, fired with the godhead’s inspiration, so wanton, indeed to her husband’s surprise and somewhat scandalised delight ... that it could be said my father did nothing but prepare the way for the young man, this fellow whistling for happiness now as he steers the rattly old Salsol one-handed along these green lanes, bathed in remembering bliss.

Parallels

Nothing to be Fright by Julian Barnes
The Leavetaking by John McGahern
Nightlife of the Gods by Thorne Smith
 

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