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The Sea Paperback – August 15, 2006
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Max Morden has reached a crossroads in his life, and is trying hard to deal with several disturbing things. A recent loss is still taking its toll on him, and a trauma in his past is similarly proving hard to deal with. He decides that he will return to a town on the coast at which he spent a memorable holiday when a boy. His memory of that time devolves on the charismatic Grace family, particularly the seductive twins Myles and Chloe. In a very short time, Max found himself drawn into a strange relationship with them, and pursuant events left their mark on him for the rest of his life. But will he be able to exorcise those memories of the past?
The fashion in which John Banville draws the reader into this hypnotic and disturbing world is non pareil, and the very complex relationships between his brilliantly delineated cast of characters are orchestrated with a masters skill. As in such books as Shroud and The Book of Evidence, the author eschews the obvious at all times, and the narrative is delivered with subtlety and understatement. The genuine moments of drama, when they do occur, are commensurately more powerful. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright© American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
As Max probes his recollections, he reveals his most intimate feelings, constantly questioning the accuracy of his memory, and juxtaposing his childhood memories with his recent memories of his wife Anna's "inappropriate" illness and her futile treatments. Through flashbacks, he also introduces us to his earlier life with Anna and his fervent hopes that through her he could become someone more interesting. "I was always a distinct no-one, whose fiercest wish was to be an indistinct someone," he says, confessing that he saw her as "the fairground mirror in which all my distortions would be made straight."
More a meditation than a novel with a strong plot, The Sea brings Max to life (as limited as his life is), recreating his seemingly simple, yet often profound, thoughts in language which will startle the reader into recognition of their universality. To some extent an everyman, Max speaks to the reader in uniquely intimate ways.Read more ›
The narrator is Max Morden, an Irishman who a year after the death of his wife, returns to a town by the sea where he spent his summers over 50 years ago and fell under the spell of the Grace family, composed of the mother, father and twins: Chloe and Myles, a strange young lad who has never spoken. In a style reminiscent of Proust, Thomas Mann, Henry James and the best of Edmund White, Banville's narrator goes from the summers in the past to the recent "plague year" of his wife's terminal illness to the present where he rents a room in the Cedars, where once the Graces lived, and is now inhabited by the mysterious Miss Vavasour, the current landlady, and her only other tenant, the Colonel.
You can open the book to almost any page and read beautiful, poetic language. On our memories of our youth: "So much of life was stillness then, when we were young, or so it seems now; a biding stillness; a vigilance. We were waiting in our as yet unfashioned world, scanning the future as the boy and I had scanned each other, like soldiers in the field, watching for what was to come." Or on Banville's description of the sea: "Down here, by the sea, there is a special quality to the silence at night. I do not know if this is my doing, I mean if this quality is something I bring to the silence of my room, and even of the whole house, or if it is a local effect, due to the salt in the air, perhaps, or the seaside climate in general.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Banville's command and love of the English language revives the Novel as the modernists did. I put his rumination on time, memory, and the self on the shelf with Woolf, Faulkner,... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Pamela R.
While I was reading this book I was frustrated waiting for something to happen and wishing I liked any one of characters. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
Ambivalent best describes my reaction to this book. Book reads like a journal at times and switches scenes and tenses a lot, but eventually gets where it's going. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Abraham Aamidor
I never got attached to the characters since the narrator was himself detached from the action. It only got interesting in the last 10 or 15 pages when appearantly something... Read morePublished 3 months ago by ARuben
Like an extended poem, the language is so rich and evocative and perfectly descriptive. It balances memories how they affect ongoing life in a way that is respectful and real, not... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Craftperson
Enjoyable enough read. I've gone back to it several times; but, I have always dropped it to read something else.Published 4 months ago by vetmike92
Surprised I liked this so much. I had to skim a couple of places where I bogged down in detail and needed some action. But what a terrific writer. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Emily C. Harris