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The Sea: 01/12/09
The Sea (2005 Man Booker winner) by John Banville follows Max Morden as he revisits his wife's last year before she died of cancer. Much of the novel is written as a flash back as the scenery brings back memories. Max's daughter comments near the end of the novel that her father lives only in the past and after a short protest ends up agreeing with her.
The back of the book compares Banville's writing style to Vladimir Nabokov. I've read a number of his books and can see the connection but he isn't the author that first jumped to mind. The two the came immediately to me were Daphne du Maurier for the lingering melancholia that permeates the story and Marilynne Robinson for how environment reflects the protagonists emotional state.
The Sea is light on dialogue and heavy on description. The novel exists mostly in Max's head as he dwells on Anna and the memories of other people in his life. His thoughts are a carefully choreographed portrayal of stream of consciousness but there is a traceable narrative thread from start to finish.
I have to admit that I started The Sea feeling somewhat intimidated. I've only read two other winners, Blind Assassin (didn't like) and The English Patient (loved). When I saw the it didn't have chapters I wasn't sure at first if I would finish The Sea. Then an hour had passed and I was a quarter of the way through the novel. Although it was a challenging book to read it was a rewarding one.
Comment #1: Saturday, January, 17, 2009 at 18:10:14
Thanks for the review. I've got this on my TBR list this year. Looking forward to it...B.
Comment #2: Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 23:20:41
You're welcome. Enjoy the book!