THE SEA by John Banville
The Sea (2005 Man Booker Prize Winner) is a story built on memory and the immediacy of the present. The past and present coexist like different colored wools woven on a loom. The specificity of Banville’s observations is unmatched. The details, so vivid, evoke emotions and recollections from the reader’s own childhood, which somehow feed immediately back to protagonist Max Morden and the reader is snared.
As his childhood and adult life collide, Max shows us that in the midst of the light and joy of our lives, our ability to comprehend the weight of our experiences is palpable; all we need do is open our awareness. Our transformational potential is mind-bending, and may be the reason—in my humble opinion—we delegate it to our subconscious. But The Sea is more than a story of human potential. It deals with love and loss, truth and fabrication. I dare say, Max Morden’s journey to the sea is a tale to be visited again and again, for each encounter will yield new insights for the reader.
The richness of the imagery and the elegant flow of the prose will coax you to read out loud. If you do, the story will unfold in a blink. I advise a whisper, just enough articulation to appreciate the brilliance of the music on the page. Let the words resonate ever so slightly and they will plunge deep into your heart and leave a tattoo of love.
Banville’s mastery of words and effortless storytelling echoes Virginia Woolf and Michael Cunningham. Yet he is himself—unique. We are fortunate to have him in our midst.
Delve into the magical world of The Sea.