Posts tagged john banville

“The Sea” by John Banville

John Banville is a magnificent prose writer. I loved his earlier book Birchwood, so thought I would try out The Sea, which won him the Booker Prize in 2005. I liked it, but did feel a little bit disappointed. The writing was still beautiful. The blurb on the cover from the Daily Telegraph was not an overstatement: “They are like hits of some delicious drug, these sentences.” I really enjoyed the descriptions, the rhythm of the prose, the unusual words, the constant freshness of the language. The characters and plot,… Read More

“Birchwood” by John Banville

This book has very clear echoes of Proust, both in the writing style and in the sense of nostalgia that pervades the story of aristocratic decline. The references are clear and deliberate – in the very first chapter, Banville’s narrator refers to his fragments of memory as “madeleines” and talks of his “search for time misplaced.” None of this boded very well for the novel – I had Proust on my night-table for ages, but every time I read it I fell asleep so quickly that I seemed to go… Read More