Axel Vander, celebrated academic and man of culture, is spending his twilight years on the west coast of America. For decades he has lived with the knowledge of a tragedy of which he was both perpetrator and victim. Now, out of the blue, a letter arrives hinting at the secrets he has been hiding for fifty years. To find out just how much the writer knows about his past Vander arranges to meet her in Turin. But he is thrown into emotional turmoil by this encounter with Cass Cleave, a deeply troubled young woman desperate to discover a reason to continue living; and the meeting of the two leads inexorably towards disaster. Written in Banville's faultless, almost painfully beautiful prose, Shroud is a novel which is not afraid to ask deep questions, nor to answer them emphatically. It is a richly rewarding work from one of the most accomplished novelists of his generation.
John Banville was born in Ireland in 1945. His other books include Long Lankin, Nightspawn, Birchwood, Doctor Copernicus (which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1976), Kepler (which was awarded the Guardian fiction Prize in 1981), The Newton Letter (which was filmed for Channel 4), Mefisto, The Book of Evidence (shortlisted for the 1989 Booker Prize and winner of the 1989 Guinness Peat Aviation Award), Ghosts, Athena, The Untouchable and Eclipse. He has also received a literary award from the Lannan Foundation. He lives in Dublin.