By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated February 24, 2010 at 05:00 AM EST

John Banville’s first novel under his own name since winning the Man Booker Prize in 2005 takes place in an alternate universe in which classical Greek deities flit about English manors playing gleeful and lustful tricks on the inhabitants. But despite its mythological ?trappings, the central story of The Infinities is a down-to-earth one: As patriarch Adam Godley lies dying upstairs, the other family members, quarreling and cranky, stew ?in their desperation below. The messenger god Hermes acts as a bemused commentator on these events. But ? Banville’s lush, stylized language — which usually has a sort of self-puncturing pomposity — here feels overinflated and downright purple. B

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