The Sea, Paperback
4 out of 5 (4 ratings)


'A masterly study of grief, memory and love recollected' Professor John Sutherland, Chair of Judges, Man Booker Prize 2005 When art historian Max Morden returns to the seaside village where he once spent a childhood holiday, he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma.

The Grace family had appeared that long-ago summer as if from another world.

Mr and Mrs Grace, with their worldly ease and candour, were unlike any adults he had met before.

But it was his contemporaries, the Grace twins Myles and Chloe, who most fascinated Max.

He grew to know them intricately, even intimately, and what ensued would haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that was to follow. 'A novel in which all of his remarkable gifts come together to produce a real work of art, disquieting, beautiful, intelligent, and in the end, surprisingly, offering consolation' Allan Massie, Scotsman 'You can smell and feel and see his world with extraordinary clarity.

It is a work of art, and I'll bet it will still be read and admired in seventy-five years' Rick Gekoski, The Times 'Poetry seems to come easily to Banville. There is so much to applaud in this book that it deserves more than one reading' Literary Review 'A brilliant, sensuous, discombobulating novel' Spectator




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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

I love Banville's lush prose. Banville is excellent at writing people and events into empty settings. It is as though you see a deserted scene which delicately becomes inhabited by whispers that turn into conversations and ethereal whisps of smoke that coalesce into human bodies. Banville invents the world as a corporeal dream. The Sea is a novel carried along by plot a little more than usual but is none the worse for that. Well worth it's Booker Prize, read and catch your breathe in sighs.

Review by

This book is undoubtedly the best piece of writing to come out in this century. Banville’s prose is like a well ripe whiskey trickling down the throat. Soothing. One of the easiest methods to distinguish between a serious reader and a paperback reader is to give him a copy of The Sea and ask his opinion. It would easily tell if the litmus is blue or red: whom to take seriously and whom to make persona non grata in your sphere of literary influence.<br/>

Review by

Following the death of his wife, Max returns to 'Ballyless', a childhood family holiday destination with many memories attached.Somehow, I never got carried away by this. John Banville writes very convincingly with the voice of a man who is slowly coming to pieces, but I actually had far more sympathy for his long suffering daughter than for him. That said, the way in which Banville subtly depicts the completely un-self-aware Max using his own voice is very clever.

Review by

This book is beautifully written but it just didn't do it for me. I suspect that the main problem for me is that the main character is so disconnected from everything that I felt the same way and just didn't care.

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