The Sea is a book that genuinely daunted me! Oh boy! I thought I write long sentences! But no, John Banville writes LONGER sentences! He uses gazillion commas and, at one point I swear it made my head spin! 😀
Here is an excerpt to give you a taste:
Speaking of the television room, I realize suddenly, I cannot think why it did not strike me before now, so obvious is it, that what it reminds me of, what the whole house reminds me of, for that matter, and this must be the real reason I came here to hide in the first place, is the rented rooms my mother and I inhabited, were forced to inhabit, throughout my teenage years.
To be fair, not all his sentences are like that. There are some truly evocative lines in The Sea like this one:
I remember Anna, our daughter Claire will remember Anna and remember me, the Claire will be gone and there will be those who remember her but not us, and that will be our final dissolution. True, there will be something of us that will remain, a fading photograph, a lock of hair, a few fingerprints, a sprinkling of atoms in the air of the room where we breathed our last, yet none of this will be us, what we are and were, but only the dust of the dead.
But for me, they are too few and far between. 😦
The story in The Sea, although it is nothing spectacular, is not bad. It is told by Max Morden, a retired art historian. After his wife’s death, he returns to the seaside village where he spent a summer holiday. In this reflective novel, he looks back into his life with Anna, his wife, from the days they started dating to the time she was dying. Also, he recalls the time in his childhood when he was infatuated with Mrs. Grace, the mother of twins Chole and Myles whom he befriended during that summer.
The plot in The Sea has a twist I did not see coming. However, by the time I got to that part, I was too burnt to appreciate it. I am sorry for this lousy review, but if you decide to read The Sea I hope you will have better luck with it than I did!