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The sea
John Banville
Adult Fiction BANVILL

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Summary: The author of The Untouchable ("contemporary fiction gets no better than this"--Patrick McGrath, The New York Times Book Review ) now gives us 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 child--a 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 twins--Chloe, fiery and forthright, and Myles, silent and expressionless--in 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, Anna--of their life together, of her death--and 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 novel--among the finest we have had from this extraordinary writer.


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main characters Max Morden
Male
Widower
Mourning his wife's recent death; returns to his childhood seaside retreat.



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