The Silver Swan : Quirke

  • by Benjamin Black
  • Narrated by Timothy Dalton
  • Series: Quirke
  • 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Two years have passed since the events of the best-selling Christine Falls, and much has changed for Quirke, the irascible, formerly hard-drinking Dublin pathologist. His beloved Sarah is dead, the judge lies in a convent hospital paralyzed by a devastating stroke, and Phoebe, Quirke's long-denied daughter, has grown increasingly withdrawn and isolated.With much to regret from his last inquisitive foray, Quirke ought to know better than to let his curiosity get the best of him. Yet when an almost-forgotten acquaintance comes to him about his beautiful young wife's apparent suicide, Quirke's "old itch to cut into the quick of things, to delve into the dark of what was hidden" is roused again. As he begins to probe further into the shadowy circumstances of Deirdre Hunt's death, he discovers many things that might better have remained hidden, as well as grave danger to those he loves.Haunting, masterfully written, and utterly mesmerizing in its nuance, The Silver Swan fully lives up to the promise of Christine Falls and firmly establishes Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) among the greatest of crime writers.Listen to Christine Falls.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Banville, you swot OR Death is a rough customer.

"Everything rushes back. Everything replaces itself."
-- Benjamin Black (or John Banville), The Silver Swan

'The Silver Swan' is Benjamin Black's (alter ego of John Banville) second Quirke novel. There is something about Dublin in the 50s that makes sense for a noir novel. The rain. The brooding. The whiskey. The sh!t food. The damp seediness and decay (both material and moral).

Quirke is a perfect character for these novels. He is an off-the-wagon ('Christine Falls'), on-the-wagon ('The Silver Swan') pathologist who seems to have just as much trouble with his own family dynamics as he does with his work. He is all over ethical lines and exigencies, lonely, introverted, with a "hard heart and hot soul."

Black, the alter-ego, gives Banville the room and excuse to let loose a bit. He isn't aiming for poetic prose, but just mood and thrill. He's able to wack at a couple festering issues (Catholicism, poverty, sex, death, marriage, drugs, women, family) without having to make it so damn serious. In a period when a lot of good literary fiction is actually genre fiction, I rather enjoy it when an author is able to jack around the authorial persona AND play with the genre too.

This is a pot boiler that never is quite allowed to boil (think of trying to cook Ramen on Everest). Black is a tease. Quirke is a charade. His name is a game. That said, these aren't fun novels. I've only read two, mind you, but Banville/Black's books can only be considered funny in the way a kick in the balls or a chemical burn is funny. These novels are arresting. They are painful in parts. They are a throb, a choke, a tease and a cough, but never -- no never once -- a tickle. If you like Banville, crime fiction, genre fiction, etc., you should probably give these a shot. You won't tattoo many lines on your arm from these books, but they may leave you scarred anyway.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

A great sequel!

Two points regarding "Christine Falls" and "The Silver Swan":

1) Benjamin Black is a fabulous writer who knows too well the weakness of the human condition. Those who have read Dennis Lehayne ("Mystic River", etc.) will love this series. Highly recommended!

2) Why doesn't Timothy Dalton narrate more audiobooks?! He is simply outstanding.
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- David

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-04-2008
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio