Friday, August 31, 2012
Poetry is what gets lost in translation.
The Funky Monkey. Lindisfarne North Primary School, Lindisfarne. August 2012.
The Sea, by John Banville seems to have been a controversial winner of the Booker Prize in 2005. I guess that it's not so surprising that the response to this book has generated some degree of angst when the victory assured that a vast swathe of readers (of all tastes and persuasions) would pick up and read something that might be a little outside their comfort zone.
Myself, I really enjoyed it. Yet it is an almost deliberately stifled book chock full of literary allusions and a meandering, haunting atmosphere. It certainly doesn't resemble your typical novel and is perhaps more an exploration of memory, remembering, forgetting and reconstructing life experiences that seem to be on the brink of slipping away.
Beautifully written, there is more than a little Proust about this one. More than once I stopped and reread sentences and paragraphs just to check that they were as well constructed as I first thought. Yes, generally they were! I'd give this one an A-, and happily recommend it. However, if you are after neatly-resolved plot-lines and sympathetic characterisation, you might do best to avoid it.