Heather's Reviews > The Sea

The Sea by John Banville
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's review
Feb 19, 2008

liked it

** spoiler alert ** I read this book at the same time as The Gathering so the overlaps were obvious: loss, depression, alcoholism, the ocean, and ghosts from the past. It was the latter that impressed me the most in the Sea, whereas in the Gathering it was more about family interactions and how eff'd up we can be. But back to The Sea... Max loses his wife to cancer and returns to a childhood seaside retreat where he revisits experiences and acquaintances. There is an underlying mystique to the way Banville writes, so you KNOW something is coming, some deep dark secret hiding in the sea. He doesn't disappoint, there are multiple secrets to discover in this short novel.

Banville and Enright are both Irish, won the Booker consecutively, touch upon the same topics, and write in similar descriptive and literary styles. The Sea reads like poetry at parts, the description of a woman's leg or a scene that subsequently imparts emotion. The Gathering also reads like prose, but with a darker twist into the cynical and sarcastic mind of the main character. Either way, I'm sold on contemporary Irish authors!!!
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