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The author of The Untouchable (â contemporary fiction gets no better than thisâ â Patrick McGrath, The New York Times Book Review) 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 wifeâ s death, has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a childâ 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 twinsâ Chloe, fiery and forthright, and Myles, silent and expressionlessâ in whose mysterious connection Max became profoundly entangled, each of them a part of the â barely bearable raw immediacyâ of his childhood memories.
Interwoven with this story are Mordenâ s memories of his wife, Annaâ of their life together, of her deathâ 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 â like a second heart.â
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 novelâ among the finest we have had from this extraordinary writer.
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Incandescent prose. Beautifully textured characterisation. Transparent narratives. The adjectives to describe the writing of John Banville are all affirmative, and The Sea is a ringing affirmation of all his best qualities. His publishers are claiming that this novel by the Booker-shortlisted author is his finest yet, and while that claim may have an element of hyperbole, there is no denying that this perfectly balanced book is among the writer’s most accomplished work.
Max Morden has reached a crossroads in his life, and is trying hard to deal with several disturbing things. A recent loss is still taking its toll on him, and a trauma in his past is similarly proving hard to deal with. He decides that he will return to a town on the coast at which he spent a memorable holiday when a boy. His memory of that time devolves on the charismatic Grace family, particularly the seductive twins Myles and Chloe. In a very short time, Max found himself drawn into a strange relationship with them, and pursuant events left their mark on him for the rest of his life. But will he be able to exorcise those memories of the past?
The fashion in which John Banville draws the reader into this hypnotic and disturbing world is non pareil, and the very complex relationships between his brilliantly delineated cast of characters are orchestrated with a master’s skill. As in such books as Shroud and The Book of Evidence, the author eschews the obvious at all times, and the narrative is delivered with subtlety and understatement. The genuine moments of drama, when they do occur, are commensurately more powerful. --Barry ForshawAbout the Author:
John Banville is the author of ten novels, including the Man Booker-prize winning novel The Sea. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.
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Book Description Picador, 2005. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0330442732