‘If you’re interested in Dublin, or if you’re interested in the novelist John Banville, or if you’re interested in radiantly superb sentences about whatever – I’m all three – then Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir is a book you’ll not be able to put down’ The Guardian ‘A trove of arresting imagery, from the lushly poetic to the luridly absurd … utterly delightful’ Irish Times ‘Delicious … Banville’s soarings, like a hawk’s, are both wild and comprehensive, taking in everything and imagining more’ New York Times
For the young John Banville, Dublin was a place of enchantment and yearning. Each year, on his birthday – the 8th of December, Feast of the Immaculate Conception – he and his mother would journey by train to the capital city, passing frosted pink fields at dawn, to arrive at Westland Row and the beginning of a day’s adventures that included much-anticipated trips to Clery’s and the Palm Beach ice-cream parlour.
The aspiring writer first came to live in the city when he was eighteen. In a once grand but now dilapidated flat in Upper Mount Street, he wrote and dreamed and hoped.
It was a cold time, for society and for the individual – one the writer would later explore through the famed Benjamin Black protagonist Quirke – but underneath the seeming permafrost a thaw was setting in, and Ireland was beginning to change.
Alternating between vignettes of Banville’s own past, and present-day historical explorations of the city, Time Pieces is a vivid evocation of childhood and memory – that ‘bright abyss’ in which ‘time’s alchemy works’ – and a tender and powerful ode to a formative time and place for the artist as a young man.
Accompanied by images of the city by photographer Paul Joyce.