Monday, March 12, 2007

Drown yourself in The Sea

Aiyoh. I just finished reading yet another disappointing Booker prize winner. First, it was the "I-wanna-be-the-new Rohinton Mistry and Arundhati Roy" Inheritance of Loss, then more recently, wannabe Virginia Woolf post-modernist schmodernist The Sea.

The Sea got massive accolades. Very important people called it a very important book, saying that John Banville could see into the modern soul. Gimme a break lah! Loosely summarised without giving away any spoilers, The Sea is the story of an aging man getting over the recent loss of his wife to cancer. He is lured back to the seaside town that he used to holiday at as a child, and the reader then spends a few hundred pages discovering the events of his childhood that have left an indelible mark on him and have shaped his adulthood. There is a perfunctory twist in the end, and have I said again how I think he tries to write like Virginia Woolf?

I don't know. Maybe I read it when I was in the wrong mood, but I really had no patience for this book. The language was completely distracting, and self-aware. I have no issue with weird grammar and sentence construction as a narrative device (e.g. E. Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain and The Shipping News, David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, anything by Peter Carey) but it has to have a point y'know? I just felt that The Sea was a rather indulgent exercise by an obviously gifted wordsmith. But alter my perspective of the world it did not,

But then again, I tend to prefer the Booker Prize nominees to the winners themselves. Anyway, I need new reading material. Any recommendations anyone? In the meantime, think I'll work my way through all the Asterix and Obelix comics again. Feel the need for some good historical fiction.

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