The Sea by John Banville (and appearing on Radio 4)

The Sea

Often one of the most interesting bits about meeting an author is reconciling yourself to the fact that the worlds and minds you have come to know and imagine so closely, so intimately, started out in another person’s imagination. It was with this in mind that I took in John Banville- a small bespectacled Irish man in a bow tie and tweeds, somewhat fussily sipping at a glass of red wine.

I was at Broadcasting house, attending a recording of BBC radio 4s BookClub. The book (and aforementioned world) was winner of 2004’s ManBooker prize: The Sea.

The novel had bobbed up to the surface of media consciousness ten years after winning, buoyed no doubt by a press junket related to a new motion picture based on the novel which comes out this month.

Regardless of the film- I’m so glad this book floated my way, and that I was obliged to read it for the occasion because it is beautiful and quite intimidating. The text is continuous and lyrical taking you seamlessly from soft eddies of humour to the realities of grief and back.

The Sea deals with memory, childhood demons, and loss- which can drive people to escape from reality and into a world they create for themselves. Detailing the protagonist’s return to the site of childhood holidays after his wife’s death from cancer, this is a book about innocence, judgement and an exploration of the dreams which tow us into the treacherous waters of adulthood.

Well worth the read.

Born in Wexford in 1945, John Banville won The Man Booker Prize in 2005 with his novel The Sea and was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize in 2007. Published by Virago.

BBC link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03zxw0g 

oh hey there I am at 4.55. Image