Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics Institute

For people passionate about words

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Recent books

The Blue Guitar by John Banville (December 2015)

They leave so little trace, our lost ones.

Oliver Orme used to be a painter, well known and well rewarded, but the muse has deserted him.  He is also, as he confesses, a thief; he does not steal for gain, but for the thrill of possession, the need to capture and fix the world around him.  His worst theft is Polly, the wife of his friend Marcus, with whom he has had an affair.  When the affair is discovered, Oliver hides himself away in his childhood home and from here he tells the story of a year, from one autumn to the next.

In his dazzling delineation of Oliver, John Banville has created one of the most memorable characters in recent fiction: compelling yet weak, desperate for love and yet inclined towards acts of terrible mischief.  Set in a reimagined Ireland that is both familiar and deeply unsettling, The Blue Guitar reveals a life haunted by the desire to possess and always aware of the frailty of the human heart.
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