By John Banville
(Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780307279125, 170pp.)
Publication Date: May 8, 2007
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"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.