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 childa 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 twinsChloe, fiery and forthright, and Myles, silent and expressionlessin 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, Annaof their life together, of her deathand 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 novelamong the finest we have had from this extraordinary writer.
Winner of the 2005 Booker Prize.
They departed, the gods, on the day of the strange tide. All morning under a
milky sky the waters in the bay had swelled and swelled, rising to unheard-of
heights, the small waves creeping over parched sand that for years had known no
wetting save for rain and lapping the very bases of the dunes. The rusted hulk
of the freighter that had run aground at the far end of the bay longer ago than
any of us could remember must have thought it was being granted a relaunch. I
would not swim again, after that day. The seabirds mewled and swooped, unnerved,
it seemed, by the spectacle of that vast bowl of water bulging like a blister,
lead-blue and malignantly agleam. They looked unnaturally white, that day, those
birds. The waves were depositing a fringe of soiled yellow foam along the
waterline. No sail marred the high horizon. I would not swim, no, not ever
Someone has just walked over my grave. Someone.
The name of the house is the Cedars, as of old....
The Booker Prize was
established by the Booker
McConnell company in 1969, and
is considered to be one of
most important literary awards
in the UK, if not the most
important. In recent years it
has been sponsored by the Man
Group, an investment company,
and thus is officially known as
The Man Booker Prize, but is
more often referred to simply as
Pierre Bonnard: Max has a tendency to muse over the paintings of Pierre Bonnard and in particular Bonnard's paintings ...
If you liked The Sea, try these:
An extraordinary literary event, a major new novel by the PEN/Faulkner winner and acclaimed master: a sweeping, seductive, deeply moving story set in the years after World War II.
A moving, ambitious and richly conceived novel that summons up the heroics and follies of twentieth-century life.
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Southern Gothic fantasy with a contemporary flare set in Savannah
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