Maybe the best book I've read all year. Within the format of the classic whodunnit taking place in Ireland in 1957, Banville explores Protestant-Catholic animosities; sexual abuse by clerics; and the overheated relationships within a decaying Anglo-Irish gentry family and its hangers-on. The lowering atmosphere of winter in County Wexford also plays a role. Banville's prose is gorgeous without calling attention to itself or getting in the way of the narrative.

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