Mark Sarvas at The Elegant Variation makes the case that everyone should be reading John Banville. Every writer, Sarvas says, has a “‘why bother’ author,” one whose work spurs deep feelings of inadequacy. Banville is his.

Here’s a page devoted to Banville.

And in one of Vendela Vida’s Slate diary entries, there are excerpts from Ben Ehrenreich’s “Banvillean Glossary” (part of an Ehrenreich interview with John Banville):

Estaminet: a cafe where smoking is allowed (Shroud, Page 131).

Popliteal: of or pertaining to the hollow behind the knee (Ghosts, Page 240).

Stravaig: to wander about aimlessly (Book of Evidence, Page 59).

Mid-evening to library closing time (9 p.m.)

Back in 1995, Salon excerpted this bit from Banville’s The Book of Evidence:

Is there anything as powerfully, as piercingly evocative as the smell of the house in which one’s childhood was spent? I try to avoid generalizations as no doubt the court has noticed but surely this is a universal, this involuntary spasm of recognition which comes with the first whiff of that humble drab brownish smell, which is hardly a smell at all, more an emanation, a sort of sigh exhaled by the thousands of known but unacknowledged tiny things that collectively constitute what is called home.

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