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The Sea

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  14,955 ratings  ·  1,506 reviews
Роман повествует о том, как потеряв любимую жену, которая скончалась от рака, искусствовед средних лет возвращается в родной ирландский городок на берег моря, где предается воспоминаниям о прошлом.
Paperback, 264 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Picador (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Trisha
I think there's a big difference between literature and fiction, and this book is a perfect example - as is obvious from the number of negative reviews posted on this website! Some books can be read purely for their entertainment value. We like reading them because the plots and settings and characters capture our interest. That's what fiction does. But some books provide an additional dimension for readers who are willing to put a little more time and thought into what they are reading and who ...more
Dolors
Sep 27, 2014 Dolors rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who don't want to forget.
Shelves: read-in-2013
"And I, who timidly hate life, fear death with fascination."Livro do desassossego, Fernando Pessoa

“Perhaps all of life is no more than a long preparation for the leaving of it” proclaims Max Morten, narrator and main character of The Sea, after his wife Anna passes away victim of a long and enduring illness.
Drowning in the grief which comes with the vast and ruthless sea of loss, he decides to seclude himself in the little coastal village where he spent his summers as a boy. A flood of unavoidab
...more
Agnieszka

Max Morden had met once gods . They came in the guise of ordinary – extraordinary Grace family . Mother , oozing sensuality indolent goddess , will become his first erotic fascination . Father , noisy lecherous satyr . And twins . Chloe , very mature for her age , feisty girl with a strong character while Myles is shy though impish . There was Rose yet , nanny or governess , sad nymph holding secret in her heart . They rented summer house , called the Cedars , at the seaside .

And now , half a c
...more
Kathy
The Sea really bugged me. I've never read another John Banville novel, so I don't know whether this one is typical of his writing in general, but nothing irritates me more these days than a writer who has considerable gifts at his command who writes novels that function as elegant window displays for the considerable gifts at his command. The plot of the book, such as it is, finds middle-aged Max Morden retiring to a rented house by the sea, near the "chalets" where he spent his boyhood summers, ...more
Jay
Nov 04, 2011 Jay rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jay by: Man Booker 2005 Winner
When my wife died suddenly in 1998 from a cerebral aneurysm, one of the things that I did in the wake of her death was to begin to reconnect with people and places that had meaning both for us as a couple and for me alone. In many cases, I ended up returning to places from my own childhood and reconnecting with people whom I had not contacted for years. Both the process itself and the actual reconnections to past places and friends helped me cope with the loss. It also activated memories that I ...more
Yulia
I actually put this book in the same category as James Frey's "Million Little Pieces": so bad, it was enjoyable to read. But of course this was bad in entirely more ambitious, pretentious ways than Frey could ever achieve. It's been about two years since I read this, so forgive my lack of specificity, but I'll try to pin down some examples of appalling devices that both rankled and tickled me.

-Balliteration: Banville, perhaps due to his over fondness for the first letter of his last name (as ot
...more
S.
Reading John Banville is like taking a long, sumptuous bath. In my book, he is one of the finest prose stylists alive. The man can write. His language and sentences are gorgeous.

I’d like to say Banville is a marvel at describing characters but in fact he’s a marvel at describing everything, from a breeze to a rain barrel:

“It was a wooden barrel, a real one, full-size, the staves blackened with age and the iron hoops eaten to frills by rust. The rim was nicely bevelled, and so smooth that one cou
...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Book Description: When Max Morden returns to the coastal town where he spent a holiday in his youth he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma.

The Grace family appear that long ago summer as if from another world. Drawn to the Grace twins, Chloe and Myles, Max soon finds himself entangled in their lives, which are as seductive as they are unsettling. What ensues will haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that is to follow.

J
...more
Seemita
The silence about me was heavy as the sea.
Sitting by the sea, I am trying hard to evade the embrace of camphoric memories that hover schemingly, stroked by the amorous waves. Often this colossal sapphire vial of solitude, seduced by a flicker of cuprous sky or a kiss of the timorous breeze, changes colour and instead of heaping balms of comfort, loathes me with a vision so sharp that a part of me detaches with a vile force and travels into the dense, supine but thorny gardens of bygone land.
...more
Stephen M
Prose style: 2
Plot : 2
Depth of characters: 2
Overall sense of aesthetic: 1
Originality: 3
Entertaining: 1
Emotional Reaction: 1
Intellectual Stimulation: 3
Social Relevance: 2
Writerly Inspiration: 1

Average = 1.8

I think this suffers from one basic writerly technique; describe what something is, not what something is like. If there were characters, a story or some kind of dramatic tension in this pile of high brow prattle, it was buried underneath the weight of endless adjectives and billowy senten
...more
Frank
Mar 01, 2008 Frank rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: John Banville's Mother
What in the hell just happened. Did I really trudge through all that overly-wrought prose only to curse Banville for producing the hint of redemption in the end of this thesaurus-spawn mud puddle? Thank you Booker Prize for yet another quality laugh. Here's a quality quote for those in doubt:

"seeming not to walk but bounce, rather, awkward as a half-inflated barrage balloon buffeted by successive breath-robbing blows out of the past."

You've got to be kidding me John: here here I say to b'alliter
...more
Jim
I myself have lived near the edge of the sea for almost half a century, but I will never again regard the sea the same way after reading John Banville's The Sea. This is one of those rare books where you will keep coming back to its first line: "They departed, the gods, on the day of the strange tide."

The place is Ballyless, a hardscrabble coastal town with some cheap "chalets" in which dwell the lower classes, including the family of Max Gorner, the book's narrator. Nearby is a seaside cottage
...more
David
Mar 04, 2012 David marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm reasonably confident that I will never read this book, but I'm definitely clipping Barry Forshaw's incandescent review as fodder for my collection of hackneyed review cliches.

In three taut, elegant paragraphs, Forshaw leaves the reader breathless, stunned by the vacuous pomposity of his unusually moribund parade of bloviated buzzwords. Never one to eschew the sesquipedalian latinate impenetrability, Forshaw deploys them throughout his review with laserlike precision and beautifully text
...more
Szplug
The Sea is one of those rare books that I not only gave up on, but actually sold to a second-hand shop afterwards. Booker Prize winner, highly lauded in rec.arts.books and a handful of internet forums that I frequented in those days, and a pastel pastiche of hyper-pictorial pablum. Frankly, I don't remember a whole lot of this very brief excursion into Banvillea other than the endless, and I do mean endless descriptions and depictions of the sky—the shape and color of the clouds, whether it was ...more
Steve
“Elegiac” is one of those literary adjectives, having to do with death. You get your fill of that with this one. Hell, the main character is named Max Morden, so what do you expect? Unfortunately, the better written an elegiac novel is, the sadder it seems.

Banville, it’s fair to say, is a writer’s writer. This one got him a Booker Prize, so, lit cred out the wazoo, right? (I love playing the lowbrow in the face of such splendid erudition.) Actually, I can see how highbrows might value The Sea f
...more
Mmars
In a stream of thoughts, the narrator whose wife has just died of cancer, centers his memories around a childhood seaside summer and his relationship with the Graces, a family that bewildered and fascinated him. He leaves his nearby home to stay in the house that the Graces occupied that summer. This has set off a flood of memories, both vivid and half-remembered.

His childhood lot is that of the lowest echelon of classes in that seaside community, while the Graces are of the highest. He cannot
...more
Jenny O
I trust that the Booker Prize judges are far wiser than I am with literary matters, but this was one of the most disappointing reads ever. I really didn't enjoy this book at all. I felt like I was reading a manuscript turned in for a writers workshop, not an award-winning book. And I don't mean a writers workshop at Iowa either. More like an MFA program at some state school.

Want to see what I mean? Here's an excerpt:
"It was very strange. I saw the scene as if from outside myself, the dining roo
...more
Abailart
My first Banville novel. It is very playfully written, twists and turns around place and identity, and is deeply moving. It is a meditation on loss, death and the sea of indifferent time. Also the real sea, a real place, and real people who seem more real to the narrator than he can ever feel himself to be. Max Morden, windowed, drinking heavily and very lonely retires to a somewhat shabby guesthouse that was the centre of events in his childhood. Set among an equally shabby Irish resort, in win ...more
Moses Kilolo
"And indeed nothing had happened, a momentous nothing, just another of the great world's shrugs of indifference (P. Last)."

Beautiful language, eh? Well, despite it and my awe of it, this took me quite a while to get to the end. I naturally immersed myself into the deep and highly stylized memory (or is it the invention) of Banville's narrator Modern. I felt the heaviness of his mourning his wife lost to cancer, and slightly pitied him of the strained relation with his daughter. The book only see
...more
Chrissie
This is my first Banville. I would say everyone has to experience how this author writes. Very descriptive. Descriptions more of how people behave and relate rather than sceneries. There is very little about Ireland; this could happen anywhere. You want to understand the characters' personalities - primarily Max's. His wife is dying of cancer. How he relates to her is, at least partially, a product of earlier events in his life. The story evokes an elderly man remembering his pubescence.That is ...more
David
Beautifully written but tediously plotted, I struggled with whether to give this 3 stars or 4. I ended up knocking off a star because in the end my ratings are based mostly on how much I enjoyed a book, and while I can appreciate the aesthetic and literary qualities of The Sea, the bottom line is that it bored me.

Banville is one of those authors who makes art out of every sentence, and if you enjoy that sort of writing, you can immerse yourself in it and enjoy each and every word. However, I fou
...more
Douglas
“They departed, the gods, on the day of the strange tide. All morning under a milky sky the waters in the bay had swelled and swelled, rising to unheard-of heights, the small waves creeping over parched sand that for years had known no wetting save for rain and lapping the very bases of the dunes. The rusted hulk of the freighter that had run aground at the far end of the bay longer ago than any of us could remember must have thought it was being granted a relaunch. I would not swim again, after ...more
Caroline
May 21, 2015 Caroline rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: John
Shelves: novels
I was only able to get this book from my local library in the large print version, and whilst at first this was a distraction, soon it became an integral part of the larger-than-life, intense lyricism of the book. It made me read more slowly, (and I did, and sometimes I read over and over again), and it helped me enjoy the crystal clarity and endless sensitivity of this writer.

It’s a story about a widower, Max Morden, still fumbling around in the trauma of the loss of his wife, going back to sta
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 05, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Artsy People - Man Booker Prize believers
Recommended to K.D. by: Man Booker Prize List
Shelves: 501, 1001-core
This is my third Man Booker awardee novel. I liked The Life and Times of Michael K (J. M. Coetzee) and The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) but sadly I did not like the plot of this. However, the poetic prose is too arresting for me to just drop the book and start a new one. Also, I never started and not finished any book. I always make sure that I finish any book that I started reading. I think one should not judge a book by reading just a portion of it. Giving a review for a book partly read ...more
Erica
When John McGahern died last year, I wondered if I would find someone to replace him as my favorite living Irish author. I think that John Banville comes close. His use of language is impeccable, especially in his descriptions of characters. In The Sea, the lovable, pitiable (is that a word?) narrator, Max, is a writer who returns to the seaside town of his youth after his wife dies. Using flashbacks, we learn the complex story of his first love(s), which revolves around a wealthy family that he ...more
Vit Babenco
Bereavement. I think sooner or later everyone becomes acquainted with the pain of sorrow.
“We carry the dead with us only until we die too, and then it is we who are borne along for a little while, and then our bearers in their turn drop, and so on into the unimaginable generations.”
Memories of childhood. I think everyone possesses some childhood memories that keep haunting one from day to day.
“Happiness was different in childhood. It was so much then a matter simply of accumulation, of taking t
...more
Amber
I can honestly say that I gave this book everything I had and it was far from enough. I read to exactly halfway then allowed myself the freedom to shut it quickly. I did prevent myself from spitting on it, or burning it. Which wouldn't have been good since it is rented from the library. *smirks*

This is my first attempt at reading off the 1001 books you must read before you die list. I will try again at some point. But right now I feel I just must not be on the same level of literary genius as so
...more
Aaron
Apr 25, 2009 Aaron rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People probably a lot older than me. Or who just like really good writing.
Shelves: character, idea, setting
There are two kinds of myth. One, the common kind, is reserved for tales like The Odyssey and other old tales, and perpetutaed in modernity by the concepts set forth in Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces. These myths rely on content, that is the nature of the tale, to bring them to such a legendary level. That is not to say that their method of telling is not of mythic calibre, just that their content is why they are defined as such.

Then there is the other breed, in which the writing
...more
Becky
this novel seems to be of the love-it-or-hate-it variety, judging by others' reviews of it. personally, i loved it. in fact, i loved it much more than both on beauty by zadie smith and never let me go by kazuo ishiguro, both of which it beat out to win the 2005 booker prize. this novel is told in stream-of-consciousness format by an aging irishman whose wife has recently died; he skips around through memories of various stages of his life, primarily a summer he spent at the sea when he was eleve ...more
Alb
Initially this novel drew me in with its rich prose and methodical pace. In fact, the Sea's style and tone reminded me at first of Marilyn Robinson's Gilead, which I loved. Both novels follow an elderly man as he contemplates the choices he has made throughout his life and considering the impact of those decisions on his life. However unlike Gilead, which uses rich language to demonstrate the complexity of the character's feelings towards his relationships, the Sea lacks strong character develop ...more
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Fiction parodies: John Banville - A short parody 1 13 Apr 07, 2014 03:30PM  
The Sea - language 25 155 Jan 20, 2014 07:29PM  
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Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland. His father worked in a garage and died when Banville was in his early thirties; his mother was a housewife. He is the youngest of three siblings; his older brother Vincent is also a novelist and has written under the name Vincent Lawrence as well as his own. His sister Vonnie Banville-Evans has written both a children's novel and a reminiscence of growing up ...more
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“The past beats inside me like a second heart.” 1933 likes
“Happiness was different in childhood. It was so much then a matter simply of accumulation, of taking things - new experiences, new emotions - and applying them like so many polished tiles to what would someday be the marvellously finished pavilion of the self.” 29 likes
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