The Sea by John Banville


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!



  1. Great review! I kind of thought that I wrote long sentences because I have gotten better with commas, but what he writes is just ridiculous. I would have gotten tired of reading all of that extra junk!

    I also write book reviews, but mainly over nonfiction. I really like nonfiction because it allows me to learn the lessons that successful people learned the hard way, from the comfort of where ever I might be reading.

    If you are interested in the nonfiction I have been reading, or if you want to know what the benefits are from reading this genre in specific, please stop by my page. I post book reviews over biographies, classics, and inspiring nonfiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did check out your blog. I’ve been trying to read more nonfiction this year, so your blog will be a great inspiration. I look forward to reading your reviews. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much! My goal is to try inspire people with my blog, but it’s been a somewhat slow process so far.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are doing a good job, so don’t worry about it. It will pick up! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I tried reading this years ago but the writing turned me off right away – your review has convinced me I shouldn’t give it a second chance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only finished reading because it is a Man Booker Winner. Reading all the Man Booker Winner books is one of my long term goals! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Reading Bug · · Reply

    I had some problems with this novel, but not the ones you found. I came to terms with the style of writing, but the plot twist at the end was pointless and to be blunt stupid – I hate novels where the author uses this device just to finish things off. I can see Banville is a good writer, but this put me off trying more of his books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard for me to come to terms with writing styles like that! 😀 I hated A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, but I know a lot of people love it. I didn’t even like The Autumn of the Patriarch, and Gabriel García Márquez is one of my favorite writers! :-/

      Liked by 1 person

  4. […] reading The Sea by John Banville, I feared I might get into a reading slump. Luckily, Elizabeth Taylor saved me […]


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