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5.0 out of 5 stars Lasting book to relish
THE SEA is an absolutely fantastic book, a tragic but beautiful short novel.Written in a rich but clear language, it takes the reader through a breath-taking journey that climaxes to a satisfying and surprising conclusion.Like all true great books, THE SEA is a novel you enjoy all the more as you read it again and again a couple of times.As gripping as NIGHT, far-reaching...
Published on Aug. 13 2006 by Sancho Mahle

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Sea
I am also a reader from Nova Scotia who read the book for a book club, although I would have read it on my own. However, I was very disappointed in the book. Yes the language is frequently beautiful, but there is no story whatsoever. The characters are never developed, hence I had no sympathy for any of them. The author is accomplished but I get the feeling that he was...
Published on March 16 2006


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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Visual internal dialogue, Nov. 12 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Saw the film at TIFF....lived up to the book...which is saying something...not an easy book to transfer to film...the movie made me want to read it....glad I did...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lasting book to relish, Aug. 13 2006
This review is from: The Sea (Hardcover)
THE SEA is an absolutely fantastic book, a tragic but beautiful short novel.Written in a rich but clear language, it takes the reader through a breath-taking journey that climaxes to a satisfying and surprising conclusion.Like all true great books, THE SEA is a novel you enjoy all the more as you read it again and again a couple of times.As gripping as NIGHT, far-reaching as USURPER AND OTHER STORIES,sobering as KITE RUNNER and deaspairingly hopeful as THE UNION MOUJIK, the story of THE SEA will stick in your mind long after you read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Drifting among Dimensions of Reality and Thought,, July 15 2006
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Sea (Hardcover)
The Sea will either delight or aggravate you. Some may experience both reactions.

The delight will come from finding a surprising word choice or unexpected detail on almost every page, the unusual development of the plot and the rapid shifts between thought, memory, perception, desire, musing and reflection. For some, the fresh descriptions of male sexual awakening will also be sweet.

The aggravation will come from realizing that the story could have been told more directly. You will also feel yourself being manipulated quite often. The word choices could have been more direct. The surprises on each page become almost mechanical after awhile. Deal with the aggravation is my advice. Otherwise, you'll miss the chance to see how often you jump to unwarranted conclusions. Reading this novel is like holding up a mirror to see your mind's perceptions and prejudices.

You won't realize much of the book's power until you're done. If you are like me, you'll immediately want to read it again.

The story takes place while Max Morden recovers emotionally from his wife's untimely death from a wasting illness. Uncharacteristically, Morden avoids family and friends to be quite alone most of the day while staying in a run-down rooming house where he experienced many delights as a youngster. Being there brings up many memories of the Grace family . . . surely a metaphor for inspiration in this lover of Bonnard. You'll find yourself drawn into those long-ago memories as well as Morden's unhappy reaction to his wife's loss. But you'll also know that there's an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Gradually, all will become clear through the mental peregrinations of Morden.

I don't remember stream of consciousness done in sentences in quite as interesting a way as Mr. Banville achieves. All aspiring novelists must read this book!

Here's an example of Mr. Banville's power to evoke irony:

"There are other things I can do. . . . Or I might retire into a monastery to pass my days in quiet contemplation of the infinite, or write a great treatise there, a vulgate of the dead. I can see myself in my cell, long-bearded, with quill-pen and hat and docile lion, through a window beside me minuscule peasants in the distance making hay, and hovering above my brow the dove refulgent. Oh yes, life is pregnant with possibilities."

Enjoy this original and provocative work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lasting book to relish, March 16 2006
By 
Sancho Mahle (Charlotte, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Sea (Hardcover)
THE SEA is an absolutely fantastic book, a tragic but beautiful short novel.Written in a rich but clear language, it takes the reader through a breath-taking journey that climaxes to a satisfying and surprising conclusion.Like all true great books, THE SEA is a novel you enjoy all the more as you read it again and again a couple of times.As gripping as NIGHT, far-reaching as USURPER AND OTHER STORIES,sobering as KITE RUNNER and deaspairingly hopeful as THE UNION MOUJIK, the story of THE SEA will stick in your mind long after you read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Unfulfilled Life, June 24 2010
By 
Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sea (Paperback)
The Irish writer, John Banville, has written a pensive story about a middle-age man, Max Morden, who desperately returns to a favourite childhood spot as a means of finding solace and making sense of his wife's Anna's premature death. Mired in grief, he reaches out to some relationships in his past that will help him make sense of his present loss. Much of the early part of the story focuses on his return to a boarding house on a popular stretch of beach where he once, as a young teen, formed an intimate but strange relationship with two young members of the Grace family who had been holidaying there. Max chums around with them and gradually enters their lives through a brief bu complicated friendship where the Grace twins, Chloe and Myles, try to run his life by manipulating his emotions. While a young Max develops affections for Chloe, she proves flighty, mysterious and elusive as she flaunts her ties with her twin, Myles. As Banville explores this particular setting of Morden's past, other experiences pop up from his often stormy marriage to Anna that only tend to only reinforce his sense of loss and remorse. The reader learns of other memories that show this relationship to be anything but fulfilling. Morden is a prisoner to the tyranny of other people's desires to emotionally control him. A journey into the sojourns of his past, through both his immediate and distant memories, confirm that there are more questions than answers being raised in the process of discovery. As he can no longer control his fading past, he is left to be consumed by the very real existential grief of the present. He has even fallen out with his only daughter, Claire, as she struggles with her own growing sense of despair and uncertainty. Overriding this whole scene of human misery and personal grief is the wonderful metaphorical presence of a becalming sea that seems to offer the hope of renewal by its profound deepness to remove and bury the inadequacies of the past. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys marvelous prose, appreciates great character development, and likes an absorbing read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars one for the ages, May 30 2006
By 
Mr. PG (Prince George BC Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Sea (Hardcover)
The Sea is the only (as yet) book by Banville that I've read. Can't even remember where I picked up the recommendation, but this is a tremendous book. The cover describes Banville as today's Nabokov, but I heard definite echoes of Dickens, Joyce, and even Dylan Thomas.

Banville writes like Perlman plays the violin, except that, to reverse the simile, if Perlman played like Banville wrote, you would hear him play notes you've never heard before. Banville's prose is so good, and his love of English so obvious, that, perversely, one suspects that (like Conrad) it's not his first language. He's Irish, so maybe Gaelic came first? Anyway, you will encounter wonderful words, effortlessly used, that you've never seen before.

This isn't just a book; it's literature, and literature of the first rank. One for the ages, for sure.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Complicated beauty, March 12 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: The Sea (Hardcover)
I just read this book for my book club and I was one of the only ones who enjoyed this book! Most of the people in my club found the book too difficult to understand with its stream of consciousness style and extended metaphor (of the sea). I, on the other hand, paid far less attention to the plot itself and more to the writing. The writing is undeniably gorgeous; Banville is a wonderful writer and probably (Never Let Me Go was my first choice) deserved The Booker. The plot was good but I found Banville's characters cold. In a book about grief and memory one would expect emotional and sympathetic characters; that isn't the case in this book. The main character is strange and unlikeable and so are the members of the Grace family. I wasn't emotionally connected to a single one of these characters and was therefore emotionally absent myself when the ending (and the tragedy therein) arrived.
I recommend Never Let Me Go if you want to read the competition (for The Booker). This book also contains unemotional characters but they are not incongruent in the story like the characters in The Sea.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Sea, March 16 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: The Sea (Hardcover)
I am also a reader from Nova Scotia who read the book for a book club, although I would have read it on my own. However, I was very disappointed in the book. Yes the language is frequently beautiful, but there is no story whatsoever. The characters are never developed, hence I had no sympathy for any of them. The author is accomplished but I get the feeling that he was given the Booker because of his reputation, not because of this book. I was very disappointed in this Booker Prize winner. I feel that it is like The Emperors New Clothes, no one wanted to say it was just a boring book with nice words. By the way, no one in the book club liked the book, one member started it and refused to finish it.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love and language, Aug. 24 2006
By 
Ross Hart "all lower case" (boston, ma usa) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sea (Paperback)
This is a tale of two love stories one of men and women the other of language. It is not often that I've found words crafted into such thought provoking sentences and they, in turn, into paragraphs pregnant with the emotions of memory. The structure of the work, for me, is akin to the folds of the brain. Bannville moving through time and character without preference seemingly as they unfold to mind without apparent bias for the loose ends before tying them neatly together in the end. What an unbelievably tour de force the finish is...
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The Sea
The Sea by John Banville (Paperback - Aug. 15 2006)
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