"The Untouchable," By John Banville, Vintage. 384 pages...

BRIEF

July 26, 1998|By Nancy Pate | Nancy Pate,Knight Ridder/Tribune

"The Untouchable," By John Banville, Vintage. 384 pages. $13. This elegant and mesmerizing novel was inspired by the life of Sir Anthony Blunt, the "Fourth Man" of the infamous Cambridge spy ring.

Although Blunt and Banville's Victor Maskell the very epitome of the unreliable narrator share many traits, and other characters have counterparts in real-life, the book is much more than a roman a clef. It's an evocative chronicle of London before, during and just after World War II, with everything from gin-soaked parties and , bombers flying overhead, to trysts in shadowy bars. And it's a thoroughly convincing portrait of a man of many masks.

Pub Date: 7/26/98

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