Book reviews

The Sea by John Banville

Kitaplık Kedisi > Kitaplar > The Sea – John Banville(Thanks to all the Neighbors who enjoyed my Love review. I’m glad I hit upon the angle I did. It made for a fun write. Hopefully I am forgiven for deflating a sacred cow.

Love was a fun book to read and think upon. The bones of the story were so clear. So often not the case. It’s such a tight package: the young and fresh, vibrant, uncomplicated love of Oliver and Jen; the thorny, resentment-coated bond between Olivers IV and III and the all-impt interplay between the two; Ol IV’s too-good-to-be-true, be-all-and-end-all (Jen) who catalyses reconciliation between Ol IV with Ol III. And if she dies tragically from Big C, so much the better. She was really just hanging around to laugh at Ol IV’s jokes and keep his belly satisfied with spaghetti.)

I’m reading a book by an Irish guy at the moment: The Sea by John Banville. I’m nearing the end pages and realizing that no one is going to drown. I kept waiting for something to happen; some game-changer moment that had to do with “the sea.”  Otherwise why does our recently widowed Baby Boomer narrator keep returning to that summer of his childhood by the sea? Why is that his touchstone? He met the Graces that summer–Mom, Dad, and their two kids and even fell in love with two of them, first Mom, then Daughter. He swam, ate, explored, and slept to a steady hum of parental arguments (not long after this, his father packed up his bag and was only heard from via post). But beyond those things?

Was the summer of the Graces so memorable, so defining? Does it tie in sufficiently to our narrator’s wife’s death? Will revisiting the strand of his long-ago passions and rooming in the house once occupied by the fascinating Graces be enough to process his wife’s passing, come to terms with his own looming mortality, and better understand and become more tolerant of his daughter and her choices with regard to lovers and career?

All this is not a dis. Well, I guess it is a dissuader for readers who require plot and action action action. But if you’re the other kind of reader, the one who eats it up when writers beautifully, precisely, and minutely examine, marvel, and behold every layer and nuance of life’s onion; when they venture into every flattering or unflattering truth of real people; into each nook and cranny, blemish, beauty mark, bodily emanation, swelling, or fluid, then you will savor The Sea.

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2 thoughts on “The Sea by John Banville

  1. Pingback: The Sea by John Banville | Neighbors North

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