Birchwood

Birchwood Review

An early classic from the Man Booker-prize winning author of The Sea.

I am therefore I think. So starts John Banville’s 1973 novel Birchwood, a novel that centers around Gabriel Godkin and his return to his dilapidated family estate. After years away, Gabriel returns to a house filled with memories and despair. Delving deep into family secrets—a cold father, a tortured mother, an insane grandmother—Gabriel also recalls his first encounters with love and loss. At once a novel of a family, of isolation, and of a blighted Ireland, Birchwood is a remarkable and complex story about the end of innocence for one boy and his country, told in the brilliantly styled prose of one of our most essential writers.

Title:Birchwood
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • James

    Blending the gothic with the romantic and a vicious and sometimes callous dark comedy, this book chronicles the last days of both the Birchwood estate and the descent of Ireland into madness during th...

  • Coos Burton

    Antes que nada, quisiera agradecerte a la editorial Penguin Random House por el ejemplar.-Fuera de mis recuerdos, este silencio y esta armonía, este brillo que encuentro de nuevo en ese segundo mundo...

  • Christin

    "Violets and cowshit, my life has ever been thus."I just finished John Banville’s Birchwood , which tells the family saga of the title’s Big House and the inter-marriages/feuding between the Lawl...

  • Hamish

    Reads like a Southern Gothic novel, only set in Ireland; there's incest and decaying gentry and foreboding mansions and shotguns. The first half, set in Birchwood, has a similar tone and feel to Banvi...

  • Caroline

    Birchwood, John Banville. Extraoridnary writer. His language and talent is wonderful. The journey of Gabriel Godkin from his boyhood home, in flight, through the circus of the area, during the potato ...

  • Joe Shoenfeld

    Loved it. Felt like a long rich broad novel though only 175 pages long. What began as a book centered on a place ends as a book as a journey. And somehow historical and superhistorical/supernatural at...

  • J.

    Banville called Birchwood his ‘Irish novel’. Set in the time of the famine Gabriel Godkin is the young heir to the Godkin family estate. The house is falling to pieces around him reflecting the un...

  • James

    beautiful prose, as always, from this short, odd, visceral, and sensual novel... Banville is a master at the where-did-that-come-from phrasing and perfectly apt word... a bit of an oddball tale, a thr...

  • Jennifer  Sciolino-Moore

    Is it possible to appreciate someone's writing and not care at all for their novel? That's the case here, with Banville and Birchwood and me. Banville is clearly talented and his prose is striking, bu...

  • Jane Evans-Ryan

    Slim novel. Thrilling read. Plot was enthralling, but the prose won the day. ...