(Ebook / ebook) The Untouchable author John Banville


  • Paperback
  • 368
  • The Untouchable
  • John Banville
  • English
  • 06 March 2018
  • 9780679767473

10 thoughts on “The Untouchable

  1. says:

    It took a while for the magic of this to work on me Initially I thought Banville’s prose had the uality of bracken on a forest floor – the light picks out some beautiful tones and textures but there was a pervading sense of brittle lifelessness I felt he wrote like someone who never leaves his study or perha

  2. says:

    After reading something written so well it’s a disappointment having only my own less elouent words available

  3. says:

    This is my second try with John Banville Once again he impresses me with his ability to write nearly perfect prose and characters who are as flesh and blood and flawed as any who ever breathed while completely boring me That's strike two Mr Banville and two is all most authors get from meBanville is a serious Literary Dude and this is a serious Literary Dude's novel The Untouchable is written as a memoir by

  4. says:

    ALL HIGH TALK AND LOW FROLICSPart I My Other Secret LifeI first encountered the Judge professionally in CourtEarly in my career I appeared in the Family Court 400 times over two years 50 or so appearances would have been before himHe was a precise and impatient judge He had little tolerance for fools or the lazy or the unprepared My reputation some of which he would have contributed to was that I anticipated what a judge

  5. says:

    It seems like I have been reading this forever The story is confusing but the writing is glorious Reading Banville is like reading a text book for writers But you have to read slowly savoring the word choices and images It's best to read on kindle with dictionary at hand

  6. says:

    As readers we have all experienced or come across books that either make a siren call to us which we can’t ignore or speak

  7. says:

    Metamorphosis is a painful process for Victor an art expert and ambitious man who turns to the life of a spy In the end his ambitions

  8. says:

    This is a great novel based on a blending of the lives of several real life British men “The Cambridge Five” who were spies for the Soviets in the 1930’s through the 1950’s Our main character given the name Victor Maskell is a gay man

  9. says:

    What forces a person to betray his country Where do all the spies come from What makes them ticking Some true espionage stories are much stranger than fiction especially when the tale is told by such master as Joh

  10. says:

    I've been spending the last month reading novels written by John Banville It's fun with authors that have multiple works to stick w

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John Banville ↠ 6 characters

The Untouchable

S his tortuous path from his recruitment at Cambridge to the airless upper regions of the establishment we discover a figure of manifold doubleness Irishman and Englishman; husband father and lover of men; betrayer and dupe Beautifully written filled with convincing fictional portraits of Maskell's co conspirators and vibrant with the mysteries of loyalty and identity The Untouchable places John Banville in the select company of both Conrad and le CarreW As readers we have all experienced or come across books that either make a siren call to us which we can t ignore or speak to us in a way that makes us drown within its pages or even sing to us a beautiful melody that soothes our spirit and enthralls us in a way nothing else does This book had a combination of all those whilst also painting vivid pictures that would definitely give artists around the world a run for their money Honestly I am not exaggerating when I say this as it was my own personal experience The Untouchable by John Banville is a Roman clef that is written from the point of view of Victor Maskell an exemplary art historian a ueen s man a double agent and a homosexual whose character is loosely based on Anthony Blunt a Cambridge spy Narrated by Maskell this book is part memoir and part confession taking us to that period in England where the educated often amused themselves with espionage and the erudite were often vociferous supporters of Marxism where to drink and debate passionately on all topics was considered the fashion where homosexuality was considered a crime and worse a thing of shame Those were the days when the youth rebelled at everything and experienced a certain amusement from it for all their rebellions were not really because they believed in the cause but was because it amused them Everything of that period amused them at least that s what one gets from reading this book Be it political affiliation sexual orientation criminal dealings cheating betrayal love friendship just about everything was a matter of amusement and thrown about to suit their present needs changed to fit their goals and ambitions never giving thought to the other We can call it a callous world cynical and selfish times we can even go further and look at those times with the disdain that is prevalent today but what we can t do is to ignore it Oh no it is a world and time that we can never ignore it is a time and world that is exciting even to those who disdain it it is a time that may have perhaps been the originator of the rebel movement an exciting time when the world was fraught with war and history that one has to acknowledge it and maybe salute those who lived in those perilous times and survived The book begins with Maskell a former British spy being uncovered as a double agent working for Russia during WWII Facing disgrace for his double role as well as for his sexual orientation Maskell is going through intense criticism from the community which is both angry and disgusted with the lies and which has resulted in the taking away of his Knighthood and also his removal from the position of Director Under these circumstances it is obvious that Maskell is beseeched by the press for an illumination on his exact role While he mostly remains silent he does get intrigued by a young woman who comes across to him as not belonging to this sect Being so intrigued he does accept her reuest for a private meeting where he learns that she wants to write a book on him What then began as an amusing game of cat and mouse between the young lady and Maskell where Maskell believes that he is simply stringing her along turns into a confession of sorts written by him as a memoir deeply affected by his own mortality Maskell perhaps feeling a need to cleanse his soul or maybe with a need to shock the young lady or even for reasons that could be as simple as being bored of all the secrecy and limitations gives forth an account that is as thrilling as any book on espionage written by the masters of that genre Banville brings alive those times in Cambridge where there was no thought or concern about right or wrong but life was all about living on the edge and indulging in the pleasures as if there was no tomorrow While the book is based on the story of the real life Cambridge Spies it is a fictional account where Banville takes the advantage of bringing in various tropes to suit the mood and create a flavor that is bursting with uniueness whilst also being familiar With Maskell s Irish roots Rothstein and Nick s Jewish ones Boy s boisterous nature and open admission of homosexuality Banville covers a wide range of subjects prejudices ideologies and a whole lot of history in a manner that is exciting thrilling and vivid The beauty of this book lies not in the subject or the tale although it does play an important role but in its language Banville brings to life the characters their individual and collective nature the often grimy and often sordid nature of the times the beauty of the surroundings even when it is bleak and grim the duplicity of espionage the threats the fears and the excitement and finally the subject of sexual orientation where disease and coming out were only fears that lurked below the surface Banville brings to life the debauchery the heartless and often cruel relationships that were maintained and the ennui that most inhabitants felt which led to dangerous pastimes Using dark humour as a tool Banville creates a story of espionage that throws light on everything from moral complexities in society to individual cynicism attitudes and vanity giving the reader a few laugh out loud moments whilst also making them experience a whole host of other emotions What makes this even special is the fact that nowhere does the pace flag or the story less suspenseful although I have to say that I did guess correctly in the beginning but was kept on my proverbial toes by giving way to constant doubts making it in short a wonderful suspense thrillerCharacters are the main crux of this story where you can actually say that this narration is character driven as opposed to being plot driven When a lot depends on the characters it is often difficult to maintain consistent growth or deterioration of the various characters that play a part in the story Here Banville shows his mastery by ensuring that every character even the smallest of them is developed beautifully While all the characters are seen through the eyes of the narrator Maskell they are so vivid in their description and portrayal that they actually come alive I can safely say that I lived this book instead of merely reading it Boy Nick Leo Maskell Vivienne uerrel Serena Danny and the myriad others weren t just names that I read but people I came to know and either liked or disliked depending on their actions or words You laugh with them you feel their pain you get angry and you feel proud these characters weren t mere characters to me but my friends and my enemies such was their portrayal The best part of the characters was that most of them were depictions of real life people given that this fictional tale had a founding in reality Trying to match the fictional with the real was a fun game that I had going while reading this book making it a fun read As with the broad outline of the story the author has also stayed true to the various historical references that are given which again added a special flavor A book which doesn t limit its scope to itself but actually makes you want to read and learn is a good book in my mind which this did making it a real pleasure to read Given that this book has adventure suspense history and covers a wide range of topics I don t think I need to say anything but to say that give this one a try and you might be surprised at what you find One for My Baby upper regions of the establishment we discover a figure of manifold doubleness Irishman and Englishman; husband father and lover of men; betrayer and dupe Beautifully written filled with convincing fictional portraits of Maskell's co conspirators and vibrant with the mysteries of loyalty and identity The Untouchable places John Banville in the select company of both Conrad and le CarreW As readers we have all experienced or come across books that either make a siren call to Paragon Walk (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, us which we can t ignore or speak to We us in a way that makes The Moon Platoon (Space Runners, us drown within its pages or even sing to The Echo (The Anomaly Quartet, us a beautiful melody that soothes our spirit and enthralls The Asset (Wounded Warrior us in a way nothing else does This book had a combination of all those whilst also painting vivid pictures that would definitely give artists around the world a run for their money Honestly I am not exaggerating when I say this as it was my own personal experience The Untouchable by John Banville is a Roman clef that is written from the point of view of Victor Maskell an exemplary art historian a Shadow of Doubt (Newpointe 911, ueen s man a double agent and a homosexual whose character is loosely based on Anthony Blunt a Cambridge spy Narrated by Maskell this book is part memoir and part confession taking Amazing Discoveries That Unlock the Bible us to that period in England where the educated often amused themselves with espionage and the erudite were often vociferous supporters of Marxism where to drink and debate passionately on all topics was considered the fashion where homosexuality was considered a crime and worse a thing of shame Those were the days when the youth rebelled at everything and experienced a certain amusement from it for all their rebellions were not really because they believed in the cause but was because it amused them Everything of that period amused them at least that s what one gets from reading this book Be it political affiliation sexual orientation criminal dealings cheating betrayal love friendship just about everything was a matter of amusement and thrown about to suit their present needs changed to fit their goals and ambitions never giving thought to the other We can call it a callous world cynical and selfish times we can even go further and look at those times with the disdain that is prevalent today but what we can t do is to ignore it Oh no it is a world and time that we can never ignore it is a time and world that is exciting even to those who disdain it it is a time that may have perhaps been the originator of the rebel movement an exciting time when the world was fraught with war and history that one has to acknowledge it and maybe salute those who lived in those perilous times and survived The book begins with Maskell a former British spy being The Ruminator uncovered as a double agent working for Russia during WWII Facing disgrace for his double role as well as for his sexual orientation Maskell is going through intense criticism from the community which is both angry and disgusted with the lies and which has resulted in the taking away of his Knighthood and also his removal from the position of Director Under these circumstances it is obvious that Maskell is beseeched by the press for an illumination on his exact role While he mostly remains silent he does get intrigued by a young woman who comes across to him as not belonging to this sect Being so intrigued he does accept her reuest for a private meeting where he learns that she wants to write a book on him What then began as an amusing game of cat and mouse between the young lady and Maskell where Maskell believes that he is simply stringing her along turns into a confession of sorts written by him as a memoir deeply affected by his own mortality Maskell perhaps feeling a need to cleanse his soul or maybe with a need to shock the young lady or even for reasons that could be as simple as being bored of all the secrecy and limitations gives forth an account that is as thrilling as any book on espionage written by the masters of that genre Banville brings alive those times in Cambridge where there was no thought or concern about right or wrong but life was all about living on the edge and indulging in the pleasures as if there was no tomorrow While the book is based on the story of the real life Cambridge Spies it is a fictional account where Banville takes the advantage of bringing in various tropes to suit the mood and create a flavor that is bursting with Infamous uniueness whilst also being familiar With Maskell s Irish roots Rothstein and Nick s Jewish ones Boy s boisterous nature and open admission of homosexuality Banville covers a wide range of subjects prejudices ideologies and a whole lot of history in a manner that is exciting thrilling and vivid The beauty of this book lies not in the subject or the tale although it does play an important role but in its language Banville brings to life the characters their individual and collective nature the often grimy and often sordid nature of the times the beauty of the surroundings even when it is bleak and grim the duplicity of espionage the threats the fears and the excitement and finally the subject of sexual orientation where disease and coming out were only fears that lurked below the surface Banville brings to life the debauchery the heartless and often cruel relationships that were maintained and the ennui that most inhabitants felt which led to dangerous pastimes Using dark humour as a tool Banville creates a story of espionage that throws light on everything from moral complexities in society to individual cynicism attitudes and vanity giving the reader a few laugh out loud moments whilst also making them experience a whole host of other emotions What makes this even special is the fact that nowhere does the pace flag or the story less suspenseful although I have to say that I did guess correctly in the beginning but was kept on my proverbial toes by giving way to constant doubts making it in short a wonderful suspense thrillerCharacters are the main crux of this story where you can actually say that this narration is character driven as opposed to being plot driven When a lot depends on the characters it is often difficult to maintain consistent growth or deterioration of the various characters that play a part in the story Here Banville shows his mastery by ensuring that every character even the smallest of them is developed beautifully While all the characters are seen through the eyes of the narrator Maskell they are so vivid in their description and portrayal that they actually come alive I can safely say that I lived this book instead of merely reading it Boy Nick Leo Maskell Vivienne Comfort of a Man uerrel Serena Danny and the myriad others weren t just names that I read but people I came to know and either liked or disliked depending on their actions or words You laugh with them you feel their pain you get angry and you feel proud these characters weren t mere characters to me but my friends and my enemies such was their portrayal The best part of the characters was that most of them were depictions of real life people given that this fictional tale had a founding in reality Trying to match the fictional with the real was a fun game that I had going while reading this book making it a fun read As with the broad outline of the story the author has also stayed true to the various historical references that are given which again added a special flavor A book which doesn t limit its scope to itself but actually makes you want to read and learn is a good book in my mind which this did making it a real pleasure to read Given that this book has adventure suspense history and covers a wide range of topics I don t think I need to say anything but to say that give this one a try and you might be surprised at what you find

read ✓ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ↠ John Banville

Inner of the Lannan Literary Award for FictionContemporary fiction gets no better than this Banville's books teem with life and humor Patrick McGrath The New York Times Book ReviewVictor Maskell is one of the great characters in recent fiction The Untouchable is the best work of art in any medium on its subject Washington Post Book WorldAs remarkable a literary voice as any to come out of Ireland; Joyce and Beckett notwithstanding San Francisco Chronicle This is a great novel based on a blending of the lives of several real life British men The Cambridge Five who were spies for the Soviets in the 1930 s through the 1950 s Our main character given the name Victor Maskell is a gay man who found out he was gay only after being married and having two kids This was a time when homosexuality was a crime in Britain and gay men had to resort to meetings in public restrooms One character commits suicide after he was arrested in police stingDespite the threat of blackmail by either side that being gay presented why does it seem that so many British spies were later revealed to be gay Perhaps because of all their practice at dissimulationGiven all this it seems odd to say that first of all I found the book loaded with humor Victor is an academic an art historian and he knows King George VI personally from their meetings in libraries where King George spends his time researching architecture books Shades of Charles Prince of Wales The Soviets are interested in Victor telling them things like the King s opinions not realizing those don t matter cocktail party gossip inane and this will induce hysteria in anyone who has spent time in academia minutes from the Faculty Council meetings at Oxbridge Victor happily gives them allWhy be a spy and betray your country Victor s reasons sound like all those that your teenage son came up with when he took the family car without permission OK he s a Marxist as many intellectuals were right after the Spanish Civil War when they were still flush with enthusiasm for the proletariat But you re betraying your country No I m not I m from Northern Ireland But you re supporting Stalin a brutal butcher The theology of the Church transcends a bad Pope The Soviets are criminals They are fighting Hitler don t you want to defeat Hitler He claims most of what he gives the Soviets is stuff he takes out of the newspapers or will shortly be in the papers Here are a few uotes that I liked illustrating the humor Alastair heaved a happy sigh gardeners have a particularly irritating way of sighing when they contemplate their handiwork the crowd was so large it had overflowed from the gallery and people were standing about the pavement in the evening sunshine drinking white wine and sneering at passers by and producing that self congratulatory low roar that is the natural collective voice of imbibers at the fount of art it must be a mark of true grace to be able to sit in a deckchair without looking like a discommoded frog The fact is the majority of us had no than the sketchiest grasp of Marxist theory We did not bother to read the texts we had others do that for us Much of the novel is structured as a memoir that Victor is dictating to a young woman interested in writing his biography Being a spy involves constant suspicion then and now in retrospect You can t trust anybody Even as you look back you wonder Was he a spy then Did he know then that I was Did the British know back then and were feeding him stuff to mislead the Soviets There is uite a diverse cast of characters The main character is a Northern Irish Protestant interacting with Catholics Jews and Russians The title Untouchable comes from Victor s ability to ingratiate himself with everyone including the Royal Family so much so that when his spying is revealed he suffers no conseuences because he even has the goods on them Until the end because there are always conseuences A good read I really enjoyed it Movie still from Bridge of Spies blu raycom

characters The Untouchable

One of the most dazzling and adventurous writers now working in English takes on the enigma of the Cambridge spies in a novel of exuisite menace biting social comedy and vertiginous moral complexity The narrator is the elderly Victor Maskell formerly of British intelligence for many years art expert to the ueen Now he has been unmasked as a Russian agent and subjected to a disgrace that is almost a kind of death But at whose instigationAs Maskell retrace This is my second try with John Banville Once again he impresses me with his ability to write nearly perfect prose and characters who are as flesh and blood and flawed as any who ever breathed while completely boring me That s strike two Mr Banville and two is all most authors get from meBanville is a serious Literary Dude and this is a serious Literary Dude s novel The Untouchable is written as a memoir by one Victor Maskell who is based on real life Cambridge spy Anthony Blunt although this is a novel it s only loosely fictionalized history Maskell as he tells his story was like Blunt formerly the keeper of the British royal family s art collection and has recently been exposed as a Soviet spy since before World War II Maskell is also a homosexual which plays a large part of his narrative he describes his sexual encounters with the same precise elegant prose as he talks about watersheds in history and his role as a Soviet double agentEverybody nowadays disparages the 1950s saying what a dreary decade it was And they are right if you think of McCarthyism and Korea the Hungarian rebellion all that serious historical stuff I expect however that it is not public but private affairs that people are complaining of uite simply I think they did not get enough of sex All that fumbling with corsetry and woolen undergarments and all those grim couplings in the back seats of motorcars The complaints and tears and resentful silences while the wireless crooned callously of everlasting love Feh What dinginess What soul sapping desperation The best that could be hoped for was a shabby deal marked by the exchange of a cheap ring followed by a life of furtive relievings on one side and of ill paid prostitution on the other Whereas oh my friends to be ueer was the very bliss The Fifties were the last grace age of ueerdom All the talk now is of freedom and pride Pride But these young hotheads in their pink bellbottoms clamoring for the right to do it in the street if they feel like it do not seem to appreciate or at least seem to wish to deny the aphrodisiac properties of secrecy and fearMaskell is wry cynical sometimes humorous and a bit depressive looking back on a career that s been generally distinguished while always overshadowed by these twin secrets he has lived his entire life in two closets as a homosexual and a double agent He has few regrets and he seems as much amused as he is upset by his public disgrace the shock of his friends the shame of his familyAs brilliantly narrated as Maskell s story is the problem is that it isn t much of a story It s an old man reminiscing about being a young Marxist and a gay blade back when either one could get you hard prison time There are no dramatic spy moments even during World War II he s just passing on not very important information to the Russians until eventually he gets tired of the whole thing and rather anticlimactically as much as a book that s had no suspense to begin with can have an anticlimax drops out of the spy game Then years later he s thrown under the bus by some of his former associates Figuratively not literally if anyone were actually thrown under a bus in this book it would have been excitingMost excellently written Yes Banville wins literary prizes go John Banville Did I care about Victor Maskell and his whiny cynical misogynistic moping after decades of being a Soviet spy Noooo If you have a real interest in this era particularly with a realistically if not particularly sympathetically depicted gay character then you probably won t regret reading this but don t make the mistake of thinking that because it s about spies it s thrilling Grass, Sky, Song ueen Now he has been Otter Chaos! (Otter Chaos unmasked as a Russian agent and subjected to a disgrace that is almost a kind of death But at whose instigationAs Maskell retrace This is my second try with John Banville Once again he impresses me with his ability to write nearly perfect prose and characters who are as flesh and blood and flawed as any who ever breathed while completely boring me That s strike two Mr Banville and two is all most authors get from meBanville is a serious Literary Dude and this is a serious Literary Dude s novel The Untouchable is written as a memoir by one Victor Maskell who is based on real life Cambridge spy Anthony Blunt although this is a novel it s only loosely fictionalized history Maskell as he tells his story was like Blunt formerly the keeper of the British royal family s art collection and has recently been exposed as a Soviet spy since before World War II Maskell is also a homosexual which plays a large part of his narrative he describes his sexual encounters with the same precise elegant prose as he talks about watersheds in history and his role as a Soviet double agentEverybody nowadays disparages the 1950s saying what a dreary decade it was And they are right if you think of McCarthyism and Korea the Hungarian rebellion all that serious historical stuff I expect however that it is not public but private affairs that people are complaining of The Illusionists uite simply I think they did not get enough of sex All that fumbling with corsetry and woolen O Último Testamento (Maggie Costello, undergarments and all those grim couplings in the back seats of motorcars The complaints and tears and resentful silences while the wireless crooned callously of everlasting love Feh What dinginess What soul sapping desperation The best that could be hoped for was a shabby deal marked by the exchange of a cheap ring followed by a life of furtive relievings on one side and of ill paid prostitution on the other Whereas oh my friends to be One for My Baby ueer was the very bliss The Fifties were the last grace age of Paragon Walk (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, ueerdom All the talk now is of freedom and pride Pride But these young hotheads in their pink bellbottoms clamoring for the right to do it in the street if they feel like it do not seem to appreciate or at least seem to wish to deny the aphrodisiac properties of secrecy and fearMaskell is wry cynical sometimes humorous and a bit depressive looking back on a career that s been generally distinguished while always overshadowed by these twin secrets he has lived his entire life in two closets as a homosexual and a double agent He has few regrets and he seems as much amused as he is We upset by his public disgrace the shock of his friends the shame of his familyAs brilliantly narrated as Maskell s story is the problem is that it isn t much of a story It s an old man reminiscing about being a young Marxist and a gay blade back when either one could get you hard prison time There are no dramatic spy moments even during World War II he s just passing on not very important information to the Russians The Moon Platoon (Space Runners, until eventually he gets tired of the whole thing and rather anticlimactically as much as a book that s had no suspense to begin with can have an anticlimax drops out of the spy game Then years later he s thrown The Echo (The Anomaly Quartet, under the bus by some of his former associates Figuratively not literally if anyone were actually thrown The Asset (Wounded Warrior under a bus in this book it would have been excitingMost excellently written Yes Banville wins literary prizes go John Banville Did I care about Victor Maskell and his whiny cynical misogynistic moping after decades of being a Soviet spy Noooo If you have a real interest in this era particularly with a realistically if not particularly sympathetically depicted gay character then you probably won t regret reading this but don t make the mistake of thinking that because it s about spies it s thrilling


About the Author: John Banville

Benjamin Black His first novel under this pen name was Christine Falls which was followed by The Silver Swan in 2007 Banville has two adult sons with his wife the American textile artist Janet Dunham They met during his visit to San Francisco in 1968 where she was a student at the University of California Berkeley Dunham described him during the writing process as being like a murderer who's just come back from a particularly bloody killing Banville has two daughters from his relationship with Patricia uinn former head of the Arts Council of IrelandBanville has a strong interest in vivisection and animal rights and is often featured in Irish media speaking out against vivisection in Irish university research