A group of strangers, passengers on a day-boat that runs aground, are washed up on an island. Shaken and sodden, they nonetheless make quick work of the situation at hand. But what is the situation? They've invaded the closely protected enclave of an eminent art historian, but their presence seems to rouse in the historian's assistant a long-ripening hunger for company. Certainly the grounding of the boat was an accident, but one of the passengers seem to know the professor and to have an air of purpose about him. Why as their day on the island progresses, do they seem to inhabit a series of weighty tableaux? And who is the man who moves among them as both spectator and player, the nameless, seemingly haunted narrator whose sensibility is the sometimes clarifing, sometimes distorting lens through which we view the action? Invoking all lost souls and enchanted islands, Ghosts gives us a brilliant mix of gaiety and menace to tell a story about the failures and triumphs of the imagination, about time's passage, and about the frailty of human happiness. It is an exquisitely written novel - stately and theatrical - by one of the most widely admired and acclaimed writers at work today.
John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He has been the recipient of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (1976), the Guardian Fiction Prize (1981), the Guinness Peat Aviation Book Award (1989), and the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction (1997). He has been both shortlisted for the Booker Prize (1989) and awarded the Man Booker Prize (2005) as well as nominated for the Man Booker International Prize (2007). Other awards include the Franz Kafka Prize (2011), the Austrian State Prize for European Literature (2013), and the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature (2014). He lives in Dublin.