‘The Sea’ John Banville

I’m not really sure why I bought this book. I was in the book store buying my 2 year old a Maisy book (as you do) and saw that it was discounted plus it had a big sticker stating that it won the 2005 Man Booker prize. As I’m always looking for something ‘literary’ and intelligent for book club, I decided to grab a copy. Yes I do buy things based on the cover!

Max Morden’s (our hero) wife dies before the action starts. He returns to the village where he spent some childhood summers to grieve, but also to dwell on the enigmatic Graces whom he met one summer. The mute Myles and the precocious Chloe.

The story develops in a series of flash backs to that summer, memories of his wife and present events. We learn that Max is a drinker, troubled by something that occurred in that distant summer even that he changed his name to Max.

I find when I read a book something in my mind shifts – I understand something better, or I feel that I’ve had a conversation with a kindred spirit. Not this book. I feel nothing. I didn’t hate it or love it. I found it hard going and forced myself to finish it. The use of obscure words (i.e. cinereal, caduceus) fascinated and then frustrated me.  I avoided reading it because I couldn’t be bothered looking up another word in my dictionary.

It’s not a book I will reread and I will think carefully before recommending it to anyone.

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