The sea / by John Banville.
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- ISBN: 0786286768
- Physical Description: 293p. (large print) ; 23cm.
- Publisher: Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2006.
|General Note:||"Thorndike Press large print basic"--T.p. verso.|
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Seaside resorts Fiction
Middle-aged men Fiction
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From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Winner of the 2005 Booker Prize for Fiction, Irishman Banville's new book does more than simply explore a0 life. It explores life0 . This splendidly profound and beautifully written novel offers lessons aplenty about how the shadow of the past does not necessarily cast darkness over the present but certainly leaves its imprint. That situation is true even in late middle age, as shown here, when Max, after losing his wife to cancer, answers an enigmatic (to himself) urge to return to the seaside resort that had been the site of summer vacations in his childhood. He wants especially to remember the "time of the gods": that summer in his adolescence when the Grace family was also in summer residence. In a monologue punctuated by exquisite metaphors borne on raw emotion, Max circles through time--through memory--to seek an understanding of not only that summer but also his subsequent adult life. Max's initial--and juvenile--passion for Mrs. Grace was, as the summer progressed, transferred to her daughter, Chloe, and almost as if prescribed by young Max's admission into the world of the "divinities," the season comes to involve a horrible tragedy. As Max's present-day retreat from real life back to the place where strong memories were made draws to a necessary close, it occurs to him that "the past . . . matters less than we pretend." In a word, this novel is brilliant. 0 --Brad Hooper Copyright 2005 Booklist
Library Journal Review
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"I have carried the memory of that moment through a whole half century, as if it were the emblem of something final, precious and irretrievable," says the narrator of Banville's Booker Prize-winning novel of a relatively trivial moment. But when he recalls the mother and daughter whom he first loved as a barely pubescent child-whose presence pulled him out of the shadow of his paltry self-he observes, "The two figures in the scene, I mean Chloe and her mother, are all my own work." Memory, then, is the subject of this brief but magisterial work, a condensed teardrop of a novel that captures perfectly the essence of irretrievable longing. After the death of his wife, Max has retreated to the seashore where he spent his childhood summers, staying at an inn that was once the home of a magnificent, careless family called the Graces. It's as if reawakening the pain of his first, terrible loss-that high-strung and volatile Chloe-will ease his more recent loss. The novel is written in a complex, luminous prose that might strike some as occasionally overblown, and Chloe's final act didn't entirely persuade this reviewer. The result? A breathtaking but sometimes frustrating novel. Highly recommended.-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Lee's thrillingly resonant baritone makes Banville's poetic evocation of the brooding Max Morden even more absorbing. As the story oscillates between two pivotal times in Morden's life-the strange events of a boyhood summer by the sea in Ireland, and the illness and death of his wife half a century later-Banville makes Morden's world fully rounded with endlessly intricate thoughts and perceptions. The lyrical writing, full of half-rhymes and alliteration, blossoms even more beautifully in the audio version than on the page, and Lee has a great sense for the material, varying his tone from sonorous heights to sing-songy to wistful sighs. Whether quickening with young Morden's naive lust for the mother in the tragic Grace family who he encounters at the beach, or growing heavy with the memory of his wife's helplessness at her cancer diagnosis, Lee convincingly inhabits the character. His Irish accent adds authenticity without distracting from the prose, though some listeners may find Banville's daunting vocabulary more of a challenge to keep up with on audio. The absence of chapter breaks and the minimal dialogue helps Lee's voice gather force as he reads, becoming a powerful wave that bears the listener along, a privileged vantage from which to witness the riveting spectacle of Morden baring his soul. Simultaneous release with the Vintage paperback (Reviews, Nov. 7, 2005). (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved