Confessions of Things Past
In the Introduction of the new Everyman's Library volume of John Banville's novels, The Book of Evidence and The Sea, Adam Phillips writes, "The drama of these novels...is the drama of self exposure." In both fictions, the narrators confess their past and in so doing explicate the existential morass in which they seem to be mired. Whether Banville's protagonists are absolved in the end is ultimately a judgement for the omniscient reader.
In the earlier work, The Book of Evidence (perhaps a fitting title for any of Banville's subsequent novels), Freddie Montgomery, a character based on the convicted murderer Malcolm Edward MacArthur, addresses his confession from his jail cell to his soon-to-be judge and jury-- a written testimony of his alleged crime. Although the reader has no reason not to believe him, Freddie is, nonetheless, an unreliable narrator. But it's not until the ambivalent last line of the document that the reader feels free from any postulation and is reminded that ultimately, remorse is all that matters.