HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
Loading...

Christine Falls

by Benjamin Black

Series: Quirke (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,615974,497 (3.47)269
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 269 mentions

English (89)  Spanish (4)  German (2)  Danish (2)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
I liked it at first, probably because it's the characters are Irish and the plot chugs along toward an indictment of a particularly Irish crime--shipping babies of young unmarried women off to American to be adopted and raised to be nuns and priests. The novel was ultimately ruined for me, though, by the gazey maleness, the icky wish fullfillment, the middle-aged white guyness. It's just so tedious how they position themselves in book after book.

In the plus column, he pulls off a pov that shifts between characters very nicely, sometimes darting rapidly between perspectives and sometimes settling in for long stays.

I wonder if I would like John Banville, the serious writer version...I bet not. He couldn't see things THAT differently writing under a different name. ( )
  wordlikeabell | May 24, 2015 |
Well, I wanted to like this book. It has a lovely, vibrant setting, an intriguing mystery and a sufficiently interesting protagonist in the pathologist Quirke. I'm not sure why, but for some reason I could not make my mind focus on the plot. Countless times throughout the book, sentences would begin with a character's name and I would wonder, "Who's that? Have I read about them before? Where do they fit in the action?" It left me feeling lost, perplexed and somewhat anxious, like how you feel during a test you've forgotten to study for. That might be my fault, but after awhile you begin to wonder why you aren't riveted to the action. For me, the writing was too plodding. The characters seemed distant and I had a hard time empathizing with them. Overall, I was left with a vague positive sense about this book. I wanted to hear more about Quirke and Phoebe, but the other characters all blurred together into an interchangeable mass. Will read another book in the series before giving up entirely. ( )
  Juva | Apr 3, 2015 |
CHRISTINE FALLS is the first novel of a series set in 1950’s Dublin and having at its centre the Griffin family who are part of the Catholic aristocracy. Quirke (if he has a first name I missed it entirely) is the foster son of the family, a pathologist and a drunk. When he notices his foster-brother Malachy – also a doctor – fiddling with a file he has no need to be fiddling with, Quirke becomes determined to find out what lay behind Mal’s fiddling with the file of someone called Christine Falls. This leads Quirke to endure his family’s wrath, a couple of beatings-up and a trip to America. At the same time as all this getting drunk and beaten up is going on we meet a young Boston couple who have adopted a baby called Christine.

CHRISTINE FALLS fits into what I call the middle-aged-male-wish-fulfilment genre of novel in which no matter how unattractive he is physically and/or psychologically the ‘hero’ of the story will manage to hang on to his job despite hitherto unparalleled levels of drunken incompetence and have all manner of impossibly gorgeous women tripping over themselves to bed him. Here an attractive nurse literally jumps on Quirke despite him having been beaten to a pulp and still being covered in bruises and bandages. I’m sorry but my eyes rolled. It’s this type of nonsense which stops me reading more noir.

Although in the end it offered a satisfactory, if bleak, resolution I wasn’t exactly bowled over by the plot either though I suspect if you read less crime fiction than I do you might have been less annoyed. I didn’t really get a genuine surprise in the lot but can acknowledge I’m not the average reader when it comes to this stuff.

The other thing I suppose one can’t do when discussing a writer of Black/Banville’s stature is fail to mention the writing itself but even there I’m afraid I wasn’t won over. Some of it – particularly the early scenes depicting Claire and Andy who are the adoptive parents of baby Christine – is rather beautiful but there is a lot of repeated imagery. I lost count, for example, of the number of times people are described as being like a stubborn/surly/recalcitrant child. And towards the end of the novel there’s a rape scene that just made me squirm. I can’t quote the passage now as the book’s gone back to the library but at the crucial moment we’re drawn to the image of dark and powerful waves crashing on nearby rocks. As if rape is as natural as ocean tides? Ick.

So…the book is not for me. I’m probably in the minority (again) but I found the characterisations too stereotypical, the gender politics bloody depressing and the plot easily predictable. As always though other opinions are available
  bsquaredinoz | Jan 2, 2015 |
A widower of a pathologist starts looking into the death of a young Irishwoman in 1950s Dublin and the trail leads him to some unseemly places and people who think they are doing God's work. Quirke, who seems to be a functioning alcoholic, finds his brother-in-law, an obstetrician, doctoring the woman's death certificate. Mal tells Quirke to leave it alone, but he can't.

The trail takes him to a back-door abortionist, to Catholic-run orphanages and homes for pregnant girls, and to Boston. On the way, Quirke runs into trouble with family, work, the coppers, do-gooders and no-gooders.

This is noirish novel that examines race, religion, class and country with an ambiguous ending that is now way joyful. The characters were bit cliched, but the writing in most places — there are a few rough patches — makes up for it. I'll definitely read the next one. ( )
  Hanneri | Oct 26, 2014 |
I like to read a series in order but recently I read the latest in the Quirke series, HOLY ORDERS, just because it came to hand. While that title stood quite well as a stand alone, some puzzling fragments that I came away with were made clearer in CHRISTINE FALLS.

This first novel in the series is set in Dublin (Ireland) and Boston (Massachusetts) in the early 1950s and emphasises the strong ties between the two. Wealthy Josh Crawford, living in Boston, has come up with a scheme to guarantee a reward for him in heaven. He is also the father of Quirke's former wife and there are those in Dublin who assist in his scheme. When Quirke begins to investigate the puzzle of what happened to Christine Falls he finds that there are people in Dublin who will go to extraordinary lengths to stop him.

This novel gives the reader a lot of Quirke's background from the previous twenty or so years.
It is also a commentary on the practice of sending Irish orphans to Boston for "adoption" in the 1940s and 1950s ( )
  smik | Aug 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
In his decision to write a straightforward, no-nonsense thriller about transatlantic baby-smuggling and the Catholic Church, John Banville, a veritable emperor of baroque prose, has not so much taken a vow of poverty as put in a sly bid to extend and reinforce his stylistic dominion. ... Those familiar with Banville will have expected nothing less; the neophyte, however, who picks up this racy little number anticipating nothing more than a night of brisk casual thrills may soon be surprised to find himself in the grips of a literary passion he had not gambled on.
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To Ed Victor
First words
She was glad it was the evening mailboat she was taking, for she did not think she could face a morning departure.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Benjamin Black, pseud. used by John Banville.
Original title: Christine Falls
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

It's not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It's the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse - and concealing the cause of death. It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls. And as Quirke reluctantly presses on toward the true facts behind her death, he comes up against some insidious, and very well-guarded, secrets of Dublin's high Catholic society, among them members of his own family.… (more)

» see all 11 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
27 avail.
78 wanted
7 pay9 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.47)
0.5
1 8
1.5 1
2 44
2.5 31
3 123
3.5 75
4 171
4.5 20
5 40

Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alumn

Christine Falls by John Banville was made available through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Sign up to possibly get pre-publication copies of books.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 97,198,446 books! | Top bar: Always visible