Now I have read the first Benjamin Black mystery tale and the most recent. They are the products of a terrific writer, who can evoke a person, an emotion, an atmosphere with the best of them. And they are set in Ireland in the 50s, with the ring of that time.
They also, all of them, show the many failures, lies and meanesses of the Catholic Church in Ireland – blowing a ittle fresh Irish air into those churches, monasteries, convents, orphans homes. That is good for the planet and certainly good for the church itself.
Great books. And so full of misery, decay and despair that it is highly, highly unlikely that I will ever read another one.
I read Christine Falls, the first one, just before the movie Philomena came out – same story, coming from the same hatred of human love. And this one is of a pedophile – of both sexes – priest. Both have the truth in them.
But the protagonist / hero Quirke, having a drink on probably one of every three pages, and then wondering why he is miserable. (My saying, as an American Irish person, is that when a people are told they are worthless for 750 years, alcoholism becomes genetic.) Even so, the drink doesn’t solve the problem, and to read about most of Ireland still living that way just is not pleasant.
So thank you for your great skills, John Banville / Benjamin Black. I am sorry I just can’t enjoy your work any more.