The Sea

I remain entranced by the Booker Prize and finally snared a copy of last year’s winner for a measily $4.95 on Ebay. Even for me, this one seemed uninspiring – a dull cover, and old-school author and a routine storyline, so it sat on the shelf for months.
I was nearly half way through before I felt I had settled with the rhythm of Banville’s writing, and from there on, it was an enjoyable ride, and I tried to slow down and savour things. It’s hard for me to believe that the story could be anything but largely autobiographical, as the convincing language of “the Colonel” and audaciousness of pre-teen Chloe rang true. Likewise the depiction of his growing helplessness during his wife’s sickness, the Murnane-like fascination with memory recollection and of early erotic awareness. Only the surprise ending felt engineered and fake to me. I didn’t come away from this book wanting to recommend it to frends – I never do that anyway, but I can see why it was in the shortlist – there are no flaws or mistakes, though another choice would have been more inspiring. Respectfully 4 stars.