The author of "The Untouchable" ("contemporary fiction gets no better than this"--Patrick McGrath, "The New York Times Book Review") now gives us a luminous novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory. The narrator is Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who, soon after his wife's death, has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child--a retreat from the grief, anger, and numbness of his life without her. But it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well ...
The author of "The Untouchable" ("contemporary fiction gets no better than this"--Patrick McGrath, "The New York Times Book Review") now gives us a luminous novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory. The narrator is Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who, soon after his wife's death, has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child--a retreat from the grief, anger, and numbness of his life without her. But it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled vacationing family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time. The seductive mother; the imperious father; the twins--Chloe, fiery and forthright, and Myles, silent and expressionless--in whose mysterious connection Max became profoundly entangled, each of them a part of the "barely bearable raw immediacy" of his childhood memories. Interwoven with this story are Morden's memories of his wife, Anna--of their life together, of her death--and the moments, both significant and mundane, that make up his life now: his relationship with his grown daughter, Claire, desperate to pull him from his grief; and with the other boarders at the house where he is staying, where the past beats inside him "like a second heart." What Max comes to understand about the past, and about its indelible effects on him, is at the center of this elegiac, vividly dramatic, beautifully written novel--among the finest we have had from this extraordinary writer. "From the Hardcover edition."
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I hated this book and actually threw it away before finishing it. It's the story of a man dealing with the grief process who returns to the summer vacation spot of his childhood. He went through his adolescence here and the book explores his thinking. As young men are wanton to be, it tended to be very sexualized, and I didn't like that at all. Perhaps that is my view as a woman, perhaps it is as an Evangelical Christian. In any event, I really didn't like it at all. Perhaps a man would have a different experience with the story.
Mar 7, 2008
This is such a beautifully written book, that I felt the urge to read it out loud. It is simply poetry in prose form. Banville is as renowned for his prose as for his poetry and in this book there has been a successful conversion of the two. Each word so carefully chosen and such an economy of phrasing. The story itself is very touching and definitely left me feeling for the characters I only briefly got to know.
Apr 3, 2007
A must read
If you are looking to read a beautifully written, challenging, stimulating ffictional story I can not recommend a book more highly. A personal tale with a twist. I would retire and read for the rest of my life if every book was a captivating as The Sea.
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