The Infinities

The Infinities

Book - 2009
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One long, languid midsummer's day, the Godleys gather at the family home of Arden to attend their father's bedside. Adam, the elder child, and Petra, only nineteen, find that relations with their stepmother, Ursula, and their dying father, old Adam, are as strained as ever. Adam's relationship with his wife, Helen, seems too on the brink of collapse and Petra, fragile and deeply troubled, finds deepest relief in her own pain. The gods, those mischievous spirits, watch silently, flitting through this dark menage. Unable to resist intervening in the mortals' lives, they spy, tease and seduce, all the while looking upon the antics of their playthings with a mixture of mild bafflement and occasional envy. Old Adam - husband, father and esteemed mathematician - has made his name grappling with the concept of the infinite. His own time on earth seems to be running out, and his mind runs to disquieting memories. Little does he realize, as he lies mute but alert in the Sky room, that the gods are capable of interposing themselves in the action, and even changing time itself when it pleases them. Overflowing with a bawdy humour, and a deep and refreshing clarity of insight, "The Infinities" is at once a gloriously earthy romp and a delicately poised, infinitely wise look at the terrible and wonderful plight of being human. In electrifying prose, Banville captures the aching intensity, the magic and enchantment, of a single midsummer's day in Arden.
Publisher: London : Picador, 2009.
Branch Call Number: FICTION
Characteristics: 299 p. ;,23 cm.

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srd10
Sep 09, 2019

This book is so well-written, so amazingly conceived, so remarkable in its structure, that it was very rewarding. What a day the people of the book had...and comforting to know that the gods are always present.

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shapjul
Sep 11, 2010

I enjoyed this book, which is much more about character and writing than it is about action. There were touches that bothered me (why does this need to be in an age where there is cold fusion?) but for the most part, I read it eagerly, if at a leisurely pace. I wouldn't say it would be a good travel book--it's not engrossing that way. But for a few pages before bed, unlikely to keep you awake, I'd recommend it.

A truly trivial point: Both library journal and the book jacket have it wrong, I think. Ursula is not a step-mother. Someone here (it could be me?) didn't read carefully enough.

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