Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir

Knopf. Feb. 2018. 224p. photos by Paul Joyce. ISBN 9781524732837. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524732844. LIT
Award-winning Irish novelist Banville (Mrs. Osmond; The Blue Guitar; as crime writer Benjamin Black, Prague Nights) blends history with personal reminiscence as he shares his impressions of Dublin while pondering when "the past" actually begins. He starts by describing his boyhood perceptions during birthday visits to the capital while living in the town of Wexford, when he saw the city as "a place of magical promise." After moving to Dublin as an adult, his views changed as he toured areas off the beaten path. Banville offers anecdotes about writers and other prominent figures as well as commentary on historical events, the city's architecture and landscaping, and the Catholic Church's domination of Irish life. In paying tribute to libraries, which he fell in love with as a child, he takes issue with censorship imposed on literature and films by the Irish government, especially under former president Éamon de Valera. Banville acknowledges an admiration for Dylan Thomas, and his gentle humor and tone are occasionally reminiscent of that writer's A Child's Christmas in Wales.
VERDICT Recommended for Banville devotees as well as anyone who shares his fascination with Ireland's capital city. [See Prepub Alert, 8/14/17.]
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