Tuesday, July 12, 2011

John Banville and Benjamin Black, via New Yorker

Yesterday's issue of New Yorker has a fascinating article on the use of pseudonyms, and takes on the writing of John Banville as himself and as Benjamin Black.

"Pseudonymously Yours"


Joanna Kavenna writes beautifully about both, with an eye for minute detail that makes me sure she's a huge fan.  She notices how artistically Banville writes in his books, while Black's are more detective noir.  She makes a case for the disparity, but just when you settle in and agree, she does a 180 and shows how similar the works actually are.  References to phrases and signature motifs are key, and as she interviews Banville at the same time, giving a wide-scope picture of what might have seemed a narrow topic.

For fans of either, it's a great exploration of writer's craft and intention.

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