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The Sea by John Banville
The Sea is where Max Morden, a middle-aged art historian, retreats after his wife dies of cancer. Max goes to the Irish seaside village of Ballyless where he once spent a holiday as a boy. While there, he alternately remembers his life with his wife and that summer holiday where he became infatuated with the wealthy and sophisticated Grace family, first with the mother, and then with the daughter. These relationships with these three women were the uneasy mess of life that helped define who he has come to be. Even now in retrospect, Max must remember even the most difficult truths if he is to find solace in them. John Banville's novel has received mostly positive reviews with The Scotsman saying, "This is a novel in which all Banville's remarkable gifts come together to produce a real work of art, disquieting, disturbing, beautiful, intelligent, and in the end, surprisingly, offering consolation."