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149
3.7 out of 5 stars
The Sea
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VINE VOICEon 22 May 2015
Worth the high praise it has received.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2014
I struggle with books about self obsessed older men whose behaviour has scant regard for others. So saying appreciate this is a good book even if not for me.
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great novel. truly worth getting.
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This is an extended poem that seems to be flawless. The beautiful language, with words that I do not know, (yet seeming to unconsciously understand), is a wonder. I felt that I got in touch with my own sense of life, with the painful realisation that I can not hold on to the past, but must struggle with now, and with the future. Much took me back to my own history, and those captured moments that can seem so perfect, yet also, at the same time, so awful. Colourful, 3 dimensional, and erotic. If a reader does not have a sense of their own immortality, (paradoxically even if they do have), this work will resonate profoundly.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2014
I thought this was tedious and unpleasant. Realise I'm in a minority here but I did not find anything praiseworthy in the book.
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on 11 December 2014
very moving and atmospheric
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on 22 July 2014
A gentle reflection on life
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2007
"The Sea" deals with some of life's weightier issues. Death. Memory. Loss. Regret. And yet if only it could have done so in a less self-consciously pompous manner! John Banville has been lauded for the quality, for the richness, of his English prose, but really, is it necessary to make such peacock-like displays of language (one imagines John, sitting at his typewriter - a PC being, naturally, far too prosaic, too non-intellectual - and stroking his well-thumbed Roget's Thesaurus before smugly typing "leoporine" or "flacculent" or (Heaven help us) "anaglypta"). It's too dense and it doesn't dance on the page, it doesn't engage: one trips up over the words, gets tangled in them.

Oh yes, the plot. An old guy with an enormous capacity for navel-gazing revisits scenes of youth and thinks about his first love and about death and about his own identity. OK, so all the over-analytic, dense description is presumably supposed to show how the narrator is struggling to come to emotional terms with his past, but the lack of real emotion, and the queasiness of the prose, together with the lack of real plot form such a barrier that it's really hard to care about any of the characters.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2013
I know John Banville is an accomplished writer, that is never in doubt, but he does appear to have swallowed a dictionary for no better reason than to impress the reader. I find that irritating and pretentious. The purpose of reading is to enjoy, not to be made to feel inferior. He himself has described other of his works as pretentious. No wonder he writes detectives under another name.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2006
If you want a story riddled with words an English professor from the 'fifties might have used, some of them now obsolete - or if not, should be - then this book is for you. I found ten percent of the book worth reading, but that, for me, is not good enough. As my own professor used to say, "This writing has an awful lot of so-whattedness about it". Sad to say I didn't reach the end. Life is just too short.
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