FADE TO BLACK – BANVILLE ON CRIME
John Banville, who has killed off his own Benjamin Black pen name, is disturbed by ever more explicit depictions of violence in popular culture.
He warns that people are constantly bombarded with graphic images – and it must impact on us. “There has to be more violence, more shock, more terror, says the Booker Prize-winning author.
“If I were a young woman now I’d be out protesting about these things. It can’t be good for young men to be watching these things.
“We go to the ultra-realistic crime series on television, all of which seem to start with a young woman being raped, murdered, chopped up and thrown in a garbage heap.
“I think we go to ultra-violent fiction and ultra-violent crime series on TV because we can experience violence safely – and yet we can say we didn’t flinch before the young woman being raped, murdered and eviscerated.”
Interviewed for the latest City of Books podcast, he tells host Martina Devlin: “I worry about this. This is not good for us. Give me the Agatha Christies, give me the old cowboy pictures where people die without even bleeding.”
Despite doing away with Black, Banville is continuing to write crime novels – described as literary noir – under his own name. He made the decision after listening to some on audio, deciding they were rather good, and it was time he took ownership of them.
He has written 17 novels, as well as short stories, essays and film scripts. His latest novel Snow, published by Faber and Faber, is set in a Big House in the 1950s and opens with the corpse of a priest found in the library.
More on Snow here