By John Banville
An early vintage from the fellow Booker-prize profitable writer of the ocean. i'm accordingly i believe. So starts off John Banville’s 1973 novel Birchwood, a unique that facilities round Gabriel Godkin and his go back to his dilapidated family members property. After years away, Gabriel returns to a home full of stories and melancholy. Delving deep into family members secrets—a chilly father, a tortured mom, an insane grandmother—Gabriel additionally recollects his first encounters with love and loss. instantly a singular of a relatives, of isolation, and of a blighted eire, Birchwood is a outstanding and complicated tale concerning the finish of innocence for one boy and his kingdom, advised within the brilliantly styled prose of 1 of our such a lot crucial writers.
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Additional resources for Birchwood (Vintage International)
Granny Godkin lay awake, waiting, in the stuffy fastness of her room. Her watchful silence unnerved Mama when she entered there each morning. Not the dawn over the fields began the day at Birchwood, but the first light breaking in Granny Godkin's bedroom. Mama drew the curtains. That was her task. Our house was run on ritual in those days. The old woman coughed and muttered, pretending to wake, and thrashed about under the blankets, until Mama set the pillow at the headboard and propped her against it.
She held my head in her arms and rocked back and forth on the chair, making an odd choked cooing little noise, like a rusty hinge. I disengaged myself distastefully and turned to go. Mama prodded me in the small of the back. I was supposed to sing Happy Birthday, but having endured the indignity of that embrace I was damned if she was going to get music out of me too. I ran away. I was curled up on the window seat on the landing, with my arms around my knees, watching the quicksilver rain slide across the black glass, when Papa returned.
Her watchful silence unnerved Mama when she entered there each morning. Not the dawn over the fields began the day at Birchwood, but the first light breaking in Granny Godkin's bedroom. Mama drew the curtains. That was her task. Our house was run on ritual in those days. The old woman coughed and muttered, pretending to wake, and thrashed about under the blankets, until Mama set the pillow at the headboard and propped her against it. ’ Granny Godkin's dry cough rattled. ’ ‘Good. Not a wink all night.