Friday, February 26, 2010

Reading: John Banville

Nothing will keep me from readings:  not 4" of snow on the ground, not a boyfriend sick in bed with the stomach flu, not a $14 entrance fee (mitigated by half using the "I'm a student" feint), not sheer laziness (most of the time).  These things will, however, make me late.  By about 15 minutes.  

Banville has a very even, very steady voice.  You can imagine him doing his own book on tape, though you might have to adjust the volume up.  he reminds me of a professor whom you wish would use a microphone, but would lean forward to hear anyway.  There was a microphone here, however, so I could sit back at my leisure.  What is it about an Irish accent that makes a voice so compelling?  Banville's work is already lyrical in itself, so that slight inflection makes the words sing even stronger.  He kept running his right hand against the corner of the podium, as if scratching his palm against the wood. 

During the Q&A, he established his position on the literary arts:  there's verse, there's prose, and there's poetry; the last can be found in both of the former.  And, with the skill of a Olympic badminton player, he batted away repeated questions about the work of Hermann Broch gently, even as the questioner continued trying to inject.  "How many others have read Hermann Broch?" he asked.  One man raised his hand.  "Great," Banville said, with faux exasperation, "another one." 

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