This exquistely written and beautifully crafted book proves there's a big difference between literature and fiction! Sometimes I like to read fiction because I'm in a mood to be entertained by plots that grab my attention and characters that are quirky and fun. But more often than not I'm looking for something a little meatier - something that adds a deeper dimension because it requires putting time and thought into what I'm reading. This was such a book. There was a lot more to it than what was happening on the surface and so it meant digging a little deeper below the plot line to think about the things that motivated the characters to behave the way they did. And far from being irritated by the way John Banville uses language, I was impressed by it - in much the same way as I'm impressed when I see a beautiful work of art. Sure, there were words I'd never heard of before - but I enjoyed discovering them even though it meant keeping a dictionary handy!! Banville's writing is going to be lost on a lot of readers because it's much more than a work of fiction. But for the rest of us, it's a great example of why we love to read in the first place....it's because we love to see our language used so beautifully in the hands of a writer who has deep insights into some of the great themes that good literature has always dealt with. This is one of those books. It's a profound reflection on love,loss,regret, and the role memory plays in the grieving process. Those who love to read because they enjoy thinking about the insights to be found in books that are beautifully written will most likely love this book. Obviously not everyone reads for that reason, which is fine for them....but for the rest of us it's easy to see why Banville is considered such a fine writer.
I didn't care much for this book. By the time the author got to revealing the plot I didn't like the character and didn't care what happened to him. It was written in a very flowery type of language, very, very descriptive to the point of overkill. But obviously I am in the minority here because it is supposed to be an award winning book.
This was not my cup of tea. I don't need an exciting plot to enjoy a book. I don't mind older men looking back on their lives. In a similar vein, I loved Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, although I hated Roth's Everyman. This was closer to Everyman.
Max is a widower that is overly sensitive to smells who is grieving (I guess?) over his wife. He calls her the "c" word and admits he really didn't know her because he preferred not to know her.
Not one character in the book was likable. I guess I was lucky this was short.
This has GLOWING reviews, from the NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE BOSTON GLOBE, and THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, as well as having won the Man Booker Prize in Britain. It's evocative and nostalgic to me, though it didn't really ring my chimes. More my problem than its, I suspect.
The language of this novel is so very rich, I found myself stopped dead in my reading tracks over and over. Incredible descriptions and words. This is fine literature at its best, the kind you read for the beauty of pure reading pleasure.
This novel was good but awfully slow going. I can't believe how LONG it took me to read considering it was less than 200 pages. The prose is beautiful and the insights into the human mind are striking, but almost the whole of the novel is being "inside the head' and tortured thoughts/memories of an middle aged, grief striken man. Suddenly in the last dozen pages there is a total surprise of an ending that leaves you feeling as if you spent weeks plodding through sand dunes and were suddenly thrown off a cliff. Amazing. Had it not been so beautifully written though, I would never have stuck with the long trudge through the lion's share of the book. I suppose the "tortured" slow read makes you feel what the main character is feeling...
Challenging reading--beautiful, polished writing. Luminous.
Wonderful story that ties together the past, present and future of our main character. Emotions of grief, love, sadness and joy flow throughout.Beautiful prose,the author has a beautiful style of writing. I truly enjoyed being inside his head as he reminisced, yet dealt with the present time. I will try to read more by this author. His words are a gift.
I found this book to be low-key, melancholy, interesting. I would recommend it, it is well-written and the writing style is unique and appealing. Is is NOT a laugh a minute, though.
Beautifully written and deeply felt.
The mental meanderings of an older man seeking refuge in scenes of his youth after the death of his wife. The language is brilliant and his personal stocktaking scathing. Evocative, twisting tale that knits past and present threads.
This is a beautifully written, powerful book. I absolutely loved it. It's no surprise it won the Man Booker prize.
I began reading a library copy of "The Sea" but had to stop after 5 pages...had to stop because I had filled 2 pages with quotes that were so beautiful not only in the actual use of words but also meaning. I immediately went to PBS to get a copy of my own to underline, write comments, and otherwise mark up to my content because this book is staying on my shelf. The book basically deals with revisiting your past to make sense of your present but covers so much more...first love, friendship, marriage, parenthood, sickness, death and on and on. Banville's writing is real and true. The highest compliment I can give any writer.
In the top 3 books I read this year - I'll look for more Banville.
This short 195 page book won the Man Booker Prize. I don't know what qualifications are required for this. This is the story of a middle aged man who loses his wife to cancer. He goes back to the sea where his family used to vacation and reminisces about a special family who also used to come. It is a slow moving story and rather sad. I only finished it because it was short. I ordered this book because the author (John Banville) also writes a wonderful mystery series in the name of Benjamin Black.
Did not understand a thing he was trying to get across.
The prose in this slim novel is stunning, lush, and elegant. I would like to have been able to identify more with the main character. The juxtaposition of his childhood memories of summer with the Graces and his present-day end-of-life issues and grief over his wife's death are poignant; however, he seemed stilted, self-conscious, even posturing, as he related his feelings. As wonderfully as it is written, I have to connect with the character(s) in a book to give it a higher rating.
Well written, but I found it long and boring.
This novel won the Man Booker Prize, among other prizes and 'best of year' lists, and appropriately, it's full of symbolism that makes it a very rich read.
Max Morden,a middle
Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who soon after his wife's 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.