Doctor Copernicus - John BanvilleAfter reading "Kepler", I was very eager to tackle "Doctor Copernicus" and "The Newton Letter".

This year I decided that I'd start with a bang with "Doctor Copernicus". I've always believed in strong starts...

Drawing a parallel between "Kepler" and "Doctor Copernicus", they both have a very strong sense of architecture and style. I like to compare them with a very dark baroque cathedral, filled with elaborate passages and sometimes overwhelming to the casual tourist (aka reader). For this, Banville makes no apologies—he's fully committed to language and to rhythm above plot, characterization, or pacing. So, when reading a Banville book don't go looking for a mainstream writer, which is something that he’s not... 

The only part that I think seemed a little uneven was the “Cantus Mundi” chapter. Rheticus’ first person narrative was a bit off-putting. Maybe this device was necessary because it was vital to give the character Copernicus a more humane perspective, seen from outside. Given the fact that Rheticus was the person that in real life convinced Copernicus to publish his “On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres” makes it the more valuable in terms of narrative structure.

John Banville personifies the art of writing sentences in which we hear that wonderful harmonic chime that makes us believe that's possible to write the way he does.