Susan Hegg, March 14, 2011 (view all comments by Susan Hegg)
Banville has been called the heir to Proust. I am not sure of this. Both write evocatively and with an emotional realism rarely found. The Sea is such a beautiful example of the written word, I know I will want to reread it every now and then to experience the turns of phrase, the poignantly descriptive alliteration. It's like eating a very rich, satisfying meal.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (9 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)
Bart, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Bart)
An articulate exploration of the mystery of memory, love and the folly of presumptive understanding. A beautiful book, not a word too many nor out of place.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Alfred A. Knopf -
by Ann E.,
Banville's fluid prose glides over the pages of The Sea, a rich story filled with heart and bittersweet longing. I pored over the luminescent descriptions of time and place and the beautiful characters that make up this world. Clearly the Man Booker was well deserved.
by Ann E.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Banville's magnificent new novel, which won this year's Man Booker Prize and is being rushed into print by Knopf, presents a man mourning his wife's recent death — and his blighted life. 'The past beats inside me like a second heart,' observes Max Morden early on, and his return to the seaside resort where he lost his innocence gradually yields the objects of his nostalgia. Max's thoughts glide swiftly between the events of his wife's final illness and the formative summer, 50 years past, when the Grace family — father, mother and twins Chloe and Myles — lived in a villa in the seaside town where Max and his quarreling parents rented a dismal 'chalet.' Banville seamlessly juxtaposes Max's youth and age, and each scene is rendered with the intense visual acuity of a photograph ('the mud shone blue as a new bruise'). As in all Banville novels, things are not what they seem. Max's cruelly capricious complicity in the sad history that unfolds, and the facts kept hidden from the reader until the shocking denouement, brilliantly dramatize the unpredictability of life and the incomprehensibility of death. Like the strange high tide that figures into Max's visions and remembrances, this novel sweeps the reader into the inexorable waxing and waning of life." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by The Independent on Sunday,
"A peculiar and profound satisfaction comes from experiencing the prose of John Banville. Like some aged liquor, potent and malty, his writing demands to be imbibed in appreciative sips, little by little."
The author of "The Untouchable" ("contemporary fiction gets no better than this"--Patrick McGrath, "The New York Times Book Review") now gives readers a luminous novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory.
The author of The Untouchable (“contemporary fiction gets no better than this”—Patrick McGrath, The New York Times Book Review) now gives us a luminous novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory.
The narrator is Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who, soon after his wifes death, has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child—a retreat from the grief, anger, and numbness of his life without her. But it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled vacationing family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time. The seductive mother; the imperious father; the twins—Chloe, fiery and forthright, and Myles, silent and expressionless—in whose mysterious connection Max became profoundly entangled, each of them a part of the “barely bearable raw immediacy” of his childhood memories.
Interwoven with this story are Mordens memories of his wife, Anna—of their life together, of her death—and the moments, both significant and mundane, that make up his life now: his relationship with his grown daughter, Claire, desperate to pull him from his grief; and with the other boarders at the house where he is staying, where the past beats inside him “like a second heart.”
What Max comes to understand about the past, and about its indelible effects on him, is at the center of this elegiac, vividly dramatic, beautifully written novel—among the finest we have had from this extraordinary writer.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and eBooks — here at Powells.com.