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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.
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
I did not expect the twist in the plot line. Well written. I will look for other works by this authowPublished 24 days ago by Donna Nardini
I could not find anything worthwhile to write about this book. It was a book that I just did not enjoy. My overall opinion of this book is not printable. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Joy Hood
Exquisitely written superb use of imagery thoroughly enjoyed the surprise ending!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
THE SEA is the third John Banville novel that I have read. In the first, THE BOOK OF EVIDENCE (1989), the dissipated and predatory Freddie Montgomery has a moment of hysteria that... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ethan Cooper
This is a novel of at times intensely long and languorous sentences following the narrator's stream of consciousness as he shifts from one emotion, no, feeling, or rather, perhaps,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Guillaume Boisset
This was a very unusual book for me. It's my second Banville, having read "Ancient Light" recently. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mac Tipton
There is the beauty of this book -- the watercolor writing that gives the slanted sunlight and cresting waves nuance and, often, intent; the presentation of the purity of youth,... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ronald L. Geigle
This is the first of Mr. Banville's books I have read. What a pleasure! The plot was full of surprises. Read morePublished 6 months ago by john hanson
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 7 months ago by Pamela R.