Then why didn't I love it? The beautiful words and images just washed over me, leaving almost no impression at all. I think the key issue for me was Banville totally failed to make me feel emotionally invested. The main character is a boring man - he even admits it himself!
... the congeries of affects, inclinations, received ideas, class tics, that my birth and upbringing had bestowed on me in place of a personality. In place of, yes. I never had a personality, not in the way that others have, or think they have. I was always a distinct no-one...And I have to say the "big reveal" at the end, was a yawn. The fact that it involved a character who was almost never described or discussed made it feel like a bad mystery novel - how were we supposed to know that person was whodunnit when the author never talked about them!
At least for me, beautiful prose alone ultimately falls flat. I need some more personality.