Book Review: The Sea

Sunset Reads


In this luminous new novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory, John Banville introduces us to Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child to cope with the recent loss of his wife. It is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time. What Max comes to understand about the past, and about its indelible effects on him, is at the center of this elegiac, gorgeously written novel among the finest we have had from this masterful writer.”


Max Morden is a recent widower working through his relationship with his wife, Anna, and with his daughter, Claire, whilst trying to understand some events from his childhood. I found myself wading through descriptions in order to get on to the story. This for me was rather annoying as I found myself becoming impatient at the author. However, Max Morden was a man very confused about love. His relationship with his wife was not perfect, nor was it broken. Max loves his daughter, but does not know how to express his love for her.

I did enjoy how the story moves back and forth through time and events, relatively easily. Showing Max’s shifting thoughts and attention. I enjoyed the elegance of Banville’s writing style, although I found it broke up in too many parts therefore, never really found the rhythm in the writing style which is the true enjoyment for me. Overall, I had mixed feelings for my response to The Sea as Max Morden was about love. This was my first by Banville so maybe another novel might help.

3/5 Stars


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