Monday, March 19, 2007

Christine Falls

by Benjamin Black (AKA John Banville)

So, if a novel takes place in Ireland in the 1950s, you know that it’s going to be a downer. Or at least that something bad will happen.

Enter Quirke, the pathologist, and Mal, the ob/gyn: raised together, though not brothers, they now practice in the same hospital. Of course, their specialties are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Hmmm. . . is this some sort of foreshadowing?

Anyway, one evening, Quirke drunkenly shows up in the path lab after a party, and much to his surprise, he finds Mal there. And Mal is writing something in a file. Whose file? The file belonging to the newly deceased Christine Falls, who allegedly died in childbirth.

So many questions: was Mal the attending physician to Miss Falls? Where is the baby? And who is the father?

All will be revealed, slowly and deliberately, in this rich and rewarding novel. Highly recommended.


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