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The Sea | [John Banville]

The Sea

The narrator is 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. But it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled vacationing family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time.
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Publisher's Summary

The author of The Untouchable now gives us a luminous novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory.

The narrator is 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. But it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled vacationing family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time. The seductive mother, the imperious father, the twins; Chloe, fiery and forthright, and Myles, silent and expressionless, in whose mysterious connection Max became profoundly entangled; each of them a part of the "barely bearable raw immediacy" of his childhood memories.

Interwoven with this story are Morden's memories of his wife, Anna, of their life together, of her death, and the moments, both significant and mundane, that make up his life now: his relationship with his grown daughter, Claire, desperate to pull him from his grief; and with the other boarders at the house where he is staying, where the past beats inside him "like a second heart".

What Max comes to understand about the past, and about its indelible effects on him, is at the center of this elegiac, vividly dramatic, beautifully written novel, among the finest we have had from this extraordinary writer.

©2005 John Banville; (P)2006 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Booker Prize Winner, Fiction, 2006

"Brilliant." (Booklist)
"Magnificent." (Publishers Weekly)
"Captivating." (Bookmarks Magazine)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (192 )
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3.5 (95 )
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Performance
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  •  
    S. Hilt 05-12-07
    S. Hilt 05-12-07

    Freshwater

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    106
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Difficult to follow"

    Maybe it's just me, as I had read such positive reviews about this book. But I have had to restart this audio book countless times, as I found the story line difficult to follow.. At times you are not immediately aware that the author had jumped back several decades to the subject's childhood, or to his marriage or to the present day. It was well read however, enjoyed the narrator's Irish accent.

    5 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cleo Dee 12-26-08
    Cleo Dee 12-26-08
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
    Overall
    "The Sea - an Unabridged Yawn"

    This book was slow and boring. I do not recommend it while driving -- the reader will definitely put you to sleep.

    3 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Ferwerda 03-10-11
    T. Ferwerda 03-10-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    81
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Depressing"

    After an hour and a half of listening, I am thoroughly depressed. Although the narrator tries to make something of what he is reading, it is very tiresome. Is it a sad past he is remembering? I cannot tell. I am still waiting for the actual storyline. I will probably not continue listening to this story.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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