Nominated by:

Deichmanske Bibliotek, Oslo, Norway

Milwaukee Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Alfred A. Knopf, USA

The Blue Guitar

John Banville      

 2017 Longlist

Oliver Otway Orme—a man equally self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating—is a painter of some renown, and a petty thief who has never been caught… until now. Unfortunately, the purloined possession in question is the wife of the man who was, perhaps, his best friend. Fearing the consequences, Olly has fled—not only from his mistress, his home, and his wife, but from the very impulse to paint, and from his own demons. He sequesters himself in the house where he was born, and thus, he sets about trying to uncover the answer to how and why things have turned out as they did. A witty and trenchant novel about artistic creation and the ways in which we learn to possess one another—and hold on to ourselves.

(from publisher)

About the Author

John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He has been the recipient of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Guinness Peat Aviation Book Award, and the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. He has been short-listed for the Booker Prize and awarded the Man Booker Prize (2005) as well as nominated for the Man Booker International Prize in 2007. Other awards include the Franz Kafka Prize, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, and the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature. He lives in Dublin.

Librarians’ Comments

A both funny and gripping story of love, art, friendship and betrayal, about facing yourself.

In this tale of the downhearted and hapless Olly Orme, Banvile explores themes of memory and regret. Olly is an artist and petty thief who flees when his latest caper is discovered. While his struggle to know himself could become banal, there is always humour and enchanting descriptions of people and places.

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