'A nearly perfectly fashioned work of art ...The Newton Letter gave this reader such pleasurable excitement that he found it impossible to concentrate on anything until he had read it again to make sure that it seemed as good on the seconding reading. It did' Irish Times A historian, on the brink of completing a book on Isaac Newton, rents a ...Read More'A nearly perfectly fashioned work of art ...The Newton Letter gave this reader such pleasurable excitement that he found it impossible to concentrate on anything until he had read it again to make sure that it seemed as good on the seconding reading. It did' Irish Times A historian, on the brink of completing a book on Isaac Newton, rents a cottage in southern Ireland for the summer. As the summer wears on and he dissects Newton's mental collapse of 1693 he becomes distracted by the mysterious occupants of Fern House and finds himself constructing their imagined histories to powerful effect. His elaborate attempts to decipher the complex web of relationships are, however, far from accurate ...'How is one to convey half-adequately that Banville's The Newton Letter is something out of the ordinary?' Sunday Times 'Banville's prose has a dazzling amplitude and resource ...a novelist of international calibre' Boston Globe 'Very precise and evocative ...full of teasing alignments and variations' Financial Times Volume Three of the Revolutions TrilogyRead Less
The Newton Letter is a small book beautifully written, highly informative and thoroughly engaging. Can't wait to read the other two in the trilogy.
Feb 14, 2009
Don't read this book if you want to learn about Newton's letter - the two letter's by Newton referred to in the book, one historical, one fantasy, are seen only out of the corner of the eye, never in full view, and, for much of the book, forgotten all together. The main character in this brief novella- the narrator with no name - spends a few months in a rented cottage to finish his book about Newton, but gets wrapped up in the goings on at the main house. Although his mis-conceptions about this family become apparent as the story approaches the end, much is left unknown, or at least unspoken. No tidy package at the end.
Banville's prose sets the mood well, with a strong sense of place. However, neither the place nor any of the people that populate this story seem very likeable, including the narrator. Thus, it's tough to get drawn into the story. It may be realism, but the ending is unsatisfying. Still, it's worth the short time to read it, especially as part of Banville's impressive body of work.
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