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Twilight of the gods

John Banville’s latest novel plays dazzling games with narrative and the notion of happy endings within a world of garrulous deities and water-powered cars

By Brian Dillon   October 2009

The Infinities By John Banville (Picador, £14.99)

John Banville’s new novel is in part a sacrilegious riposte to the modernist notion of the invisible, indifferent author. It is narrated by the playful and melancholy figure of the god Hermes—a deity who cannot help dabbling in mortal matters, while at the same time deploring the carnal excesses his father Zeus visits on humanity. It’s a conceit that could become tiresome in other hands, but Banville is a writer of such deftness that The Infinities is simultaneously a sly disquisition on death, divinity and the nature of fiction.

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