Elegy for April

Elegy for April

A Novel

Book - 2010 | 1st ed.
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Quirke--the hard-drinking, insatiably curious Dublin pathologist--is back, and he's determined to find his daughter's best friend, a well-connected young doctor

April Latimer has vanished. A junior doctor at a local hospital, she is something of a scandal in the conservative and highly patriarchal society of 1950s Dublin. Though her family is one of the most respected in the city, she is known for being independent-minded; her taste in men, for instance, is decidedly unconventional.

Now April has disappeared, and her friend Phoebe Griffin suspects the worst. Frantic, Phoebe seeks out Quirke, her brilliant but erratic father, and asks him for help. Sober again after intensive treatment for alcoholism, Quirke enlists his old sparring partner, Detective Inspector Hackett, in the search for the missing young woman. In their separate ways the two men follow April's trail through some of the darker byways of the city to uncover crucial information on her whereabouts. And as Quirke becomes deeply involved in April's murky story, he encounters complicated and ugly truths about family savagery, Catholic ruthlessness, and race hatred.

Both an absorbing crime novel and a brilliant portrait of the difficult and relentless love between a father and his daughter, this is Benjamin Black at his sparkling best.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Co., 2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780805090918
0805090916
Branch Call Number: FIC Black 9254tc 1
FIC Black 9254mv 1
Characteristics: 293 p.

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DorisWaggoner
Sep 05, 2018

I picked this book up, not realizing it was the third in a series. I was mightily confused for a good while. It didn't help that April's presence is very strong, yet she never physically appears, nor do we ever get a physical description of her. The ending is totally ambiguous as well. Phoebe, who has been a close friend, concludes she knows little about her, but learns a lot, as does her father. Yet they learn very different things. Phoebe's convinced early on that April's dead, but we don't learn for sure whether or not she is. But the book is beautifully written in spite of the ambiguity, and I will definitely read the first two. It does say on the back of the paperback edition I read that it's the third in the series, but somehow that never registered. What did was the high praise. In spite of the setting and the time difference, the book's highly relevant to today's America.

p
Pisinga
Sep 29, 2013

If you have not read the previous books with the same characters and have not pay attention to a brief description of the contents on the cover of the book (which was my case), then you'll be a little confused, like I was, about which time era was described. But in the course of the narration and description you are beginning to understand about period of time. A little feeling of inconclusiveness at the end, unfinished business. Maybe in the next books of this series some questions about destiny of April would be answered. Other than that, it is a great book.

m
mbleckman
Feb 12, 2012

I really enjoyed this book. Black redeemed himself with this one following the Silver Swan. It was striking how powerful the character April was despite her phantom presence throughout the book. A good read, but don't expect to be cheered up by any of Black's books.

joebooks Jul 31, 2011

This is an excellent book. It is plotted, paced and written in glorious prose. this is what writing is all about: aq good story well told

k
KayK
Aug 10, 2010

More from John Banville. His detective series under the pen name of Benjamin Black digs into the dark heart of the conservative Irish society of the 1950's via hard drinking Pathologist Qirke, illuminating the dark consequenses of Catholic repression.

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mpfickes
Aug 27, 2011

When her usual daily contact with April Latimer abruptly stops, Phoebe Quirke turns for help to her father, a pathologist at the same Dublin hospital where April has been a junior doctor. Her iconoclastic father, Quirke, enlists the assistance of his long-time associate, Police Inspector Hackett, and in their investigation they unearth long kep secrets of one of 1950s Ireland's most pretigious families. Soaked in fog, alcohol and twisted Catholic guilt, Black's beautiful language sets this apart from more pedestrian suspense novels. Call it literature -- Black is the pseudonym of Booker prize-winner John Banville.

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rtwete
Feb 25, 2011

Third in Dr. Quirke series. Dr. Quirke is just out of drying-out hospital. His daughter, Phoebe, is concerned about her friend April Latimer, whom she hasnt heard from for 2 weeks, nor has their circle of friends. April is a junior doctor (intern?) and a member of an influential family in Dublin, in government & medicine. Quirke & Det. Hackett start to suspect family is involved in her disappearance. African man may or may not be involved with April romantically, he is in circle of friends. This is 1950's setting.

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Pisinga
Sep 29, 2013

“You should ask for things more often. People like it. It makes them feel needed.”

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