In The Guardian, Alex Clark reviews John Banville's latest and finds it to be:
a novel criss-crossed with ghost roads and dead-ends and peopled by shifty characters who seem provisional even to themselves. It is written in Banville's customary prose, rhythmic and allusive and dense with suggestive imagery, prose that deliberately slows you down and frequently wrongfoots you. It is not a way of writing that is beyond satire, even by its own creator, as a passage about a third of the way in suggests.
Cleave has been approached to play the part of the late Axel Vander, a notorious and disgraced literary theorist who featured heavily in Shroud and who bears a certain resemblance to Paul de Man. The project is a film entitled The Invention of the Past, and it is based on a biography of Vander by a writer called "JB", a man Cleave describes as "distinctly odd", who "grows odder each time I encounter him".
Reading the book for research purposes, Cleave finds himself staggered by its style: "Rhetorical in the extreme, dramatically elaborated, wholly unnatural, synthetic and clotted, it is a style such as might be forged – le mot juste! – by a minor court official at Byzantium, say, a former slave whose master generously allowed him the freedom of his extensive and eclectic library, a freedom the poor fellow all too eagerly availed himself of."
Banville can bring his scrolls into my Byzantine court anytime he likes...