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By John Banville

From the across the world acclaimed writer of The publication of proof and Ghosts comes a enthralling novel that's either a literary mystery and a love tale as sumptuously perverse as Lolita.

"A unusual and dreamlike e-book . . . Banville has a panoramic style."--Boston Globe.

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Personnel from other groups, either with a night off or taking a long break from somewhere crosstown or uptown, listened hard, trying to dig. "I am still thinking," they would say if you asked. People at the bar all looked as if they did dig in the sense of understand, approve of, empathize with: but this was probably only because people who prefer to stand at the bar have, universally, an inscrutable look. At the end of the bar in the V-Note is a table which is normally used by customers to put empty beer bottles and glasses on, but if somebody grabs it early enough nobody minds and the bartenders are usually too busy anyway to yell at them to get off.

Mildred had fled, clutching her rock, to the adjoining compartment. The door to the rear platform was open: in front of it a fat florid Englishman wrestled with the Arab Waldetar had seen earlier talking to the German. The Arab had a pistol. Porpentine moved toward them, closing cautiously, choosing his point. Waldetar, recovering at last, hurried in to break up the fight. Before he could reach them Porpentine had let loose a kick at the Arab's throat, catching him across the windpipe. The Arab collapsed rattling.

Aieul lounged near the entrance to the café; outwardly inert but teeming inside with sad and philosophical reflections. Was this one waiting for a lady? How wrong to expect any romance or sudden love from Alexandria. No tourists' city gave that gift lightly. It took - how long had he been away from the Midi? twelve years? - at least that long. Let them be deceived into thinking the city something more than what their Baedekers said it was: a Pharos long gone to earthquake and the sea: picturesque but faceless Arabs; monuments, tombs, modern hotels.

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