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“Perhaps all of life is a long preparation of the leaving of it.”

The Sea ~ John Banville 

This new year, I’ve set a brand new target of reading 50 books which I hope to surpass, and as of now; things are looking good. ‘The Sea’ was a good start to the year and was strangely inspiring for my own writing. I love it when books do that.

I will, however, be doing my followers a disservice if I don’t forewarn that ‘The Sea’ is not for everybody. Banville has received enough criticism already, the internet is awash with it, and I agree; the man is a show-off. However, I do believe that he is a capable one.

‘The Sea’ is a story about an aging man, who, upon the death of his wife, returns to a seaside holiday spot where in his childhood he experienced a tragedy which he now wishes to re-examine. The voice, the pace and the story itself; they all belong to the category of literary fiction which might appeal to readers of such writers as Julian Barnes.

Banville writes calm sentences, very beautifully put together and one can tell that he’s laboured hard at them. He plays interestingly with time, works hard at making the narrator unreliable, stresses less on drama and pays attention to the craft of writing, to making minute observations, using the hardest synonyms in the dictionary…but to my reading tastes, this suits. Despite having predicted the ending.

I’d suggest this book as the perfect Winter-Read.

Why you should read it:

  • If you like slow paced, calm books with strong characters
  • If you’re a fan of Julian Barnes or Graham Swift
  • To strengthen your vocabulary (cheeky)

Why you shouldn’t read it:

  • If you’re in need of a quick holiday read
  • If you don’t want to keep running to the dictionary while reading a book