The Sea

The Sea The brilliant new novel by the Booker shortlisted author of Shroud and The Book of Evidence John Banville is quite simply one of the greatest novelists writing in the English language today When Ma

  • Title: The Sea
  • Author: John Banville
  • ISBN: 9780330483285
  • Page: 283
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The brilliant new novel by the Booker shortlisted author of Shroud and The Book of Evidence, John Banville is, quite simply, one of the greatest novelists writing in the English language today When Max Morden returns to the coastal town where he spent a holiday in his youth he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma The Grace family appear thThe brilliant new novel by the Booker shortlisted author of Shroud and The Book of Evidence, John Banville is, quite simply, one of the greatest novelists writing in the English language today When Max Morden returns to the coastal town where he spent a holiday in his youth he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma The Grace family appear that long ago summer as if from another world Drawn to the Grace twins, Chloe and Myles, Max soon finds himself entangled in their lives, which are as seductive as they are unsettling What ensues will haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that is to follow John Banville is one of the most sublime writers working in the English language Utterly compelling, profoundly moving and illuminating, The Sea is quite possibly the best thing he has ever written.

    One thought on “The Sea”

    1. I think there's a big difference between literature and fiction, and this book is a perfect example - as is obvious from the number of negative reviews posted on this website! Some books can be read purely for their entertainment value. We like reading them because the plots and settings and characters capture our interest. That's what fiction does. But some books provide an additional dimension for readers who are willing to put a little more time and thought into what they are reading and who [...]

    2. Ah, the sea - especially the smell of the sea, a phrase as familiar as the idea that aromas have a visceral power to exhume memories we didn’t know we had ever had and lost.Smells of all sorts permeate the pages of this book and waft up, creating a synaesthetic connection to people and places in Max’s life. My second-hand paper book added a medley of vague aromas of its own. Not something to read on Kindle (though for me, nothing is).ScentsThis is an intensely sensual book, but not in the us [...]

    3. "And I, who timidly hate life, fear death with fascination."Livro do desassossego, Fernando Pessoa“Perhaps all of life is no more than a long preparation for the leaving of it” proclaims Max Morten, narrator and main character of The Sea, after his wife Anna passes away victim of a long and enduring illness.Drowning in the grief which comes with the vast and ruthless sea of loss, he decides to seclude himself in the little coastal village where he spent his summers as a boy. A flood of unavo [...]

    4. Night, and everything so quiet, as if there were no one, not even myself. I cannot hear the sea, which on other nights rumbles and growls, now near grating, now afar and faint. I do not want to be alone like this. Why have you not come back to haunt me? Is the least I would have expected of you. Why this silence day after day, night after interminable night? It is like a fog, this silence of yours.What is John Banville’s The Sea all about? An infinite weave of contemplative and melancholic fee [...]

    5. Nude in the Bath and Small Dog, Pierre Bonnard, 1941-46What has this luminous painting of a female bather to do with a book called "The Sea", you might ask? More than you might think. Pierre Bonnard, a French Post-Impressionist painter, often painted his wife Marthe. He painted this particular piece when she was in her 70's, and she had died by the time he completed it. We can see by virtue of the recognisable images of female form and bathtub, the general gist of the painting. But the image goe [...]

    6. I just have to say it: it's all semiunremarkable until page 170 or so (this book, like many in the modern canon, such as “Amsterdam,” another Booker winner, is short in that bittersweet sort of way—perilously malingering, at 200 pages, between being almost a novel, but not quite a novella)—the plot ebbs and flows (ha) through an ocean of profound memories. The narrator chronicles, basically, two points in his life which left him devastated. His first ever, and his latest, all revolve aro [...]

    7. This is a Booker Prize winner. The language in this short novel is very, very rich, evocative and annoyingly, sent me to the dictionary far too many times for comfort. Banville is just showing off, descending into literary affectation perhaps. Two time-lines interweave as Max, a retired art critic, now living at The Cedars, a grand house of note from his youth, recalls those days when he lived with his family in much more modest surroundings and peered longingly into this place. Of course, it wa [...]

    8. The past beats inside me like a second heart.Max Morden had met once gods. They came in the guise of Grace family. Father, noisy lecherous satyr. Mother, oozing sensuality indolent goddess, will become his first erotic fascination. And twins. Chloe, very mature for her age, feisty girl with rather strong personality and Myles, shy and impish boy. There was Rose yet, nanny or governess, a sad nymph holding a secret in her heart. They rented at the seaside a summer house, called The Cedars. And no [...]

    9. I wish to thank my wonderful friend Seemita, who is truly an amazing reviewer, for inspiring me to read this book."The silence about me was heavy as the sea."Silence. It is a special kind of language. The language of the dead, of those long gone, of the forgotten, the misunderstood, the hurt, the mad and, sometimes, the content. What do they tell me? What does silence tell me? What does it tell Max Morden? It tells him a story. The story of his life. It embraces him, caresses him, whispers to hi [...]

    10. A gentleman reflects on his life, especially his youth, after the death of his wife. He returns to the formative landscape of his childhood, a modest seaside town and inn in Ireland. It is also the site of the formative tragedy of his childhood. In effect, we have a coming-of-age novel as reflected upon in later life. Instead of the psychological depth of Danish author Jens Grondahl reflecting on his marriage in Silence in October, we get lush descriptions and beautiful turns of phrase. Thoughtf [...]

    11. The silence about me was heavy as the sea.Sitting by the sea, I am trying hard to evade the embrace of camphoric memories that hover schemingly, stroked by the amorous waves. Often this colossal sapphire vial of solitude, seduced by a flicker of cuprous sky or a kiss of the timorous breeze, changes colour and instead of heaping balms of comfort, loathes me with a vision so sharp that a part of me detaches with a vile force and travels into the dense, supine but thorny gardens of bygone land. And [...]

    12. “The past beats inside me like a second heart.”- John Banville, The Sea Over the years, I've collected about 3 or 4 Banville books (just bought a slog more). The first was given to me by a girl I liked in HS, but never got around to reading it or dating her. I was finally inspired (or moved?) to read 'the Sea' (and a couple other Ireland-themed novels) because I was going to spend a week with the wife in Ireland and there is nothing better to read about on vacation than sex*, death, loss and [...]

    13. The Sea really bugged me. I've never read another John Banville novel, so I don't know whether this one is typical of his writing in general, but nothing irritates me more these days than a writer who has considerable gifts at his command who writes novels that function as elegant window displays for the considerable gifts at his command. The plot of the book, such as it is, finds middle-aged Max Morden retiring to a rented house by the sea, near the "chalets" where he spent his boyhood summers, [...]

    14. The narrator of The Sea is an odious man. I wasn’t sure I ever understood why Banville made him so odious. As a child he hits his dog for pleasure; he pulls the legs off insects and burns them in oil. As an adult, he’s a crude misogynist without knowing he’s a misogynist, a narcissist and a masochistic misanthrope. He makes constant allusions to his acquired humility and wisdom but he comes across throughout the book as largely ignorant and arrogant. There’s no apotheosis. Because Max is [...]

    15. I actually put this book in the same category as James Frey's "Million Little Pieces": so bad, it was enjoyable to read. But of course this was bad in entirely more ambitious, pretentious ways than Frey could ever achieve. It's been about two years since I read this, so forgive my lack of specificity, but I'll try to pin down some examples of appalling devices that both rankled and tickled me. -Balliteration: Banville, perhaps due to his over fondness for the first letter of his last name (as ot [...]

    16. The Sea - All that water, perhaps, that inexorable slow flood, or perhaps, that relentless ambulatory constant, is one that consumes time, more like dedimentionizes time, if that's a word, provides a cathartic shoulder, and stands remorselessly tall as if symbolizing an indifferent eternity. It cries within like a whimpering child as if it is made purely of emotions, and it roars in insurmountable outrage at the shore which is in a constant tussle to bind it. But it also retreats like a capricio [...]

    17. Onvan : The Sea - Nevisande : John Banville - ISBN : 1400097029 - ISBN13 : 9781400097029 - Dar 195 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2005

    18. When my wife died suddenly in 1998 from a cerebral aneurysm, one of the things that I did in the wake of her death was to begin to reconnect with people and places that had meaning both for us as a couple and for me alone. In many cases, I ended up returning to places from my own childhood and reconnecting with people whom I had not contacted for years. Both the process itself and the actual reconnections to past places and friends helped me cope with the loss. It also activated memories that I [...]

    19. This review may contain spoilers.Max Morden, recently widowed and father of a grown daughter, has traveled back to the sea, back to the seaside property that was the scene of a tragic event some fifty odd years ago. He would remember meeting the Grace family and becoming emotionally attached to the mother, Mrs. Grace, and to falling in love with her daughter Chloe.This is my first Banville book and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Not because I didn't think it would be good, but by how goo [...]

    20. Rating: 3.5* of five The Book Description: When Max Morden returns to the coastal town where he spent a holiday in his youth he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma.The Grace family appear that long ago summer as if from another world. Drawn to the Grace twins, Chloe and Myles, Max soon finds himself entangled in their lives, which are as seductive as they are unsettling. What ensues will haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that is to follow.J [...]

    21. The Depths of VocabularyJohn Banville loves words just as they are. Words like losel, and finical, gleet, scurf, bosky, cinerial, and merd that will really screw up your spell-checker. It's part of his masterful charm. Add his ability to put these words together in velvet sentences, and combine sentences into exquisite narrative, and voila: a writer worth his salt it were, especially with a title like The Sea. Inspired by Henry James? Very possibly, particularly by The Turn of the Screw and its [...]

    22. This is a hard one to review as I am not 100% on how I feel about it. Banville uses a lot of intricate prose but it really struggled to take off for the first half of the book. The story is centred on Max Morden who returns to the seaside holiday village where he had spent time in his childhood. During his childhood stays he got close to a family who was also staying there but in a more privileged position than Max. The family consisted of mother, father, son and daughter and the children's Nann [...]

    23. “Elegiac” is one of those literary adjectives, having to do with death. You get your fill of that with this one. Hell, the main character is named Max Morden, so what do you expect? Unfortunately, the better written an elegiac novel is, the sadder it seems. Banville, it’s fair to say, is a writer’s writer. This one got him a Booker Prize, so, lit cred out the wazoo, right? (I love playing the lowbrow in the face of such splendid erudition.) Actually, I can see how highbrows might value T [...]

    24. In the face of so many sublime reviews of this book I come up short. After the loss of his wife, Max comes adrift and seeks some kind of fertilization from visiting the seaside town of holidays in his childhood. Nice immersion in people and memories, but ultimately the book came off as too bland as Max had too little at stake, too little impetus to reshape his vision of the world, and not enough angst to take real risks.

    25. Reading John Banville is like taking a long, sumptuous bath. In my book, he is one of the finest prose stylists alive. The man can write. His language and sentences are gorgeous.I’d like to say Banville is a marvel at describing characters but in fact he’s a marvel at describing everything, from a breeze to a rain barrel:“It was a wooden barrel, a real one, full-size, the staves blackened with age and the iron hoops eaten to frills by rust. The rim was nicely bevelled, and so smooth that o [...]

    26. "In those endless October nights, lying side by side in the darkness, toppled statues of ourselves, we sought escape from an intolerable present in the only tense possible, the past, that is the faraway past."The other week as I was chatting to my mum on the phone we got to talking about books. It's a frequent topic of conversation between us. My mum is very much the reason that I am a lover of the written word. I can just about recall my very first visit to our local library as a little girl wi [...]

    27. The Sea by John Banville began with an enigmatic mention of an unforgettable day in the life of the narrator, Max Morden. It was ‘the day of the strange tide’ some fifty years ago and we were told that he would not swim again after that day. My reactions to this book that won the Man Booker Prize in 2005 were strangely lukewarm. I admired it for its impeccable prose, sensitive handling of overwhelming emotions, and traces of wry humor. I was, uncharitably, impatient with the slow unravelling [...]

    28. "Il passato mi batte dentro come un secondo cuore. Come funziona la memoria? La memoria può essere pensata come ad un'onda che entra nella nostra coscienza e repentinamente si ritira, sovrastata da un'altra onda più potente, più imperiosa, più violenta che cambia assetto a tutti i segni, i residui lasciati sulle incerte sabbie mobili del ricordo?Il mare del romanzo di Banville, è un mare livido, autunnale. Freddo e terso come la sua scrittura. Il sentimento descritto è un dolore cristalliz [...]

    29. What in the hell just happened. Did I really trudge through all that overly-wrought prose only to curse Banville for producing the hint of redemption in the end of this thesaurus-spawn mud puddle? Thank you Booker Prize for yet another quality laugh. Here's a quality quote for those in doubt:"seeming not to walk but bounce, rather, awkward as a half-inflated barrage balloon buffeted by successive breath-robbing blows out of the past."You've got to be kidding me John: here here I say to b'alliter [...]

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