Just read The Sea, John Banville



I know this book has a lot of fans out there, unfortunately I am not one of them. It just wasn’t for me. Kept rolling eyes at it, sighing, did not care about it and just wanted to get to the end then put it away. Reviewers have gone on about the beauty of the prose and language and yes, I could see it was all beautifully constructed but it just did not grab me. I found it selfish, indulgent, meandering and quite dull. I found the narrative oppressive too, the way it all just went on and on and on without breaks, long paragraphs with memories and recollections blurring into one another. That, in itself I quite liked but I wished the main character was stronger, more appealing or that there was more of a story, an engaging storyline, something else. Practically every sentence contained at least a word not in everyday use that it wanted you to look up, and Banville seems to have had a lot of fun with medical terms, there were a lot of those. I just wasn’t particularly interested, I lost interest by around page 20 and then just meandered with it to the end. The word pretentious comes into my head but I don’t want to label an author I know nothing about, other than by this book, which I didn’t like, pretentious. So I’ll say, it wasn’t you, it was me. At least I’ve read it now and can consign it to top of the bookshelf and out of ‘pile of shame’ where it’s been sitting for years. I sometimes dread to think what else I’ll find unread in this pile of shame, like The Sea, which I obviously bought on a whim – it still had a 3 for 2 Borders sticker and Borders had gone out of business years ago. I’d probably found one or two books I liked and struggled to find the third, then thought let’s get the Booker winner. Bad idea. Thankfully, I don’t go for those kinds of book promotions anymore otherwise the ‘pile of shame’ would take over the whole flat. At the moment, I think I’m doing a sterling job of reducing it.


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