The Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea gives us a brilliant, profoundly moving new novel about an actor in the twilight of his life and his career: a meditation on love and loss, and on the inscrutable immediacy of the past in our present lives.
Is there any difference between memory and invention? That is the question that fuels this stunning novel, written with the depth of character, the clarifying lyricism, and the heart-wrenching humor that have marked all of John Banville's extraordinary works. And it is the question that haunts Alexander Cleave as he plumbs the memories of his first - and perhaps only - love (he, just 15, the woman more than twice his age, the mother of his best friend; the situation impossible, thrilling, devouring, and finally devastating) . . . and of his daughter, lost to a kind of madness of mind and heart that Cleave can only fail to understand.
When his stunted acting career is suddenly, inexplicably revived with a movie role portraying a man who may not be who he says he is, his young leading lady - famous and fragile - unwittingly gives him the opportunity to see with aching clarity the "chasm that yawns between the doing of a thing and the recollection of what was done".