I’ll be honest. I bought this book back in 2016 because I knew it won the Booker Prize AND because it was the one book that stopped Kazuo Ishiguro from being a double Booker-winning author. Indeed, if you’ve not the heard the story, The Sea and Never Let Me Go were finalists for the holy grail of literary awards. Members of the jury couldn’t make up their mind, and it was left to the chairman, John Sutherland, to decide which book would be the winner.
As John Banville’s Book of Evidence was shortlisted for the Booker Prize of 1989, the year in which Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day won, Sutherland deemed it fair to hand the award to John Banville this time.
So, having read Never Let Me Go in 2014 and having absolutely loved it, I was always curious about that other book. In 2016 I finally got around to reading it during the holidays.
So, what do I remember of it? Simple. The Sea easily ranks among the most beautifully written book I’ve ever read. The language, the prose, the words…all mixed up together to deliver an unearthly experience. The book is almost dream-like, narrated as though from the clouds or some heavenly place. As for the plot itself, I could see the twist, the big revelation from quite afar, so I wasn’t as surprised as I ought to upon the denouement.
As I’ve read so many books over the years, I tend not to include The Sea in my favourite books of all time (maybe at heart I value plot over prose). But, rating it as objectively as can be, I would say it is one fine piece of art. 🙂