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Download The Sea Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Sea Audiobook, by John Banville Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (8,915 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Banville Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2006 ISBN: 9780739333785
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The narrator is Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who, soon after his wife’s death, has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child—a retreat from the grief, anger, and numbness of his life without her. But it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled vacationing family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time. The seductive mother; the imperious father; the twins—Chloe, fiery and forthright, and Myles, silent and expressionless—in whose mysterious connection Max became profoundly entangled, each of them a part of the “barely bearable raw immediacy” of his childhood memories. 

Interwoven with this story are Morden’s memories of his wife, Anna—of their life together, of her death—and the moments, both significant and mundane, that make up his life now: his relationship with his grown daughter, Claire, desperate to pull him from his grief; and with the other boarders at the house where he is staying, where the past beats inside him “like a second heart.”

What Max comes to understand about the past, and about its indelible effects on him, is at the center of this elegiac, vividly dramatic, beautifully written novel—among the finest we have had from this extraordinary writer.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Remarkable. . . . The power and strangeness and piercing beauty of [The Sea is] a wonder. The Washington Post Book World
  • With his fastidious wit and exquisite style, John Banville is the heir to Nabokov. . . . The Sea [is] his best novel so far. The Sunday Telegraph
  • The Sea offers an extraordinary meditation on mortality, grief, death, childhood and memory. . . . Undeniably brilliant. USA Today
  • A gem. . . . [The sea]is a presence on every page, its ceaseless undulations echoing constantly in the cadences of the prose. This novel shouldn't simply be read. It needs to be heard, for its sound is intoxicating. . . . A winning work of art. The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • “With his fastidious wit and exquisite style, John Banville is the heir to Nabokov…The Sea [is] his best novel so far.”

    Sunday Telegraph

  • The Sea offers an extraordinary meditation on mortality, grief, death, childhood and memory…Undeniably brilliant.”

    USA Today

  • “A gem…[The sea]is a presence on every page, its ceaseless undulations echoing constantly in the cadences of the prose. This novel shouldn’t simply be read. It needs to be heard, for its sound is intoxicating….A winning work of art.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • Winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize
  • A 2005 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lucy | 2/20/2014

    " Hovering between three and four stars....rather too slight a work to be a Booker Prize winner, I'd have thought, but what he set out to do, he did well. He is rather inclined to use a phrase where a word would do, and some of the words maybe are obscure for the sake of it - but it's a sound story, well told, and it hangs together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 2/13/2014

    " It was really good. The language was absolutely beautiful with some incredible imagery and metaphors. There were some words that I hadn't even heard before and this left me wondering if John Banville always writes like this or if this was part of the character in the novel. I will be trying his other books. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Aniko | 2/10/2014

    " Although the story itself was somewhat interesting (though even that, only moderately), I found the language unbearably pompous. As if Banville was embellishing every single sentence only for the sake of showing off the impressive active vocab he has at his command. Less would often be much more... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mirko | 2/8/2014

    " Not my typical genre - liked it though... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha | 2/1/2014

    " Well written, but gloomy and too ponderous to listen to on tape, as I did, while exercising. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie | 1/28/2014

    " I love how he describes the many different lights & shades of the day; the seasons and ramblings. Deeply enjoyed this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandi | 1/15/2014

    " This seems like one of those books I'll come to enjoy more after thinking about it for a while. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lacy | 1/3/2014

    " A nice slow book. The end was amazing! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monja | 12/7/2013

    " Very interesting book focusing on the passage of time. The main character is a elderly man who lost his wife and is visiting the places he remembers as a kid. Very well-written. The story was simple but interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebekka K. Steg | 12/2/2013

    " Very good, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue Pelman | 11/22/2013

    " Man Booker Prize. It's not a page-turner, but the writing is brilliantly descriptive of characters, place, childhood memories and aging. It's one of those quiet books that had more of an impact than I expected, and stays with me still. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Delburt | 9/29/2012

    " A poetic little masterpiece. This is high art, lovely prose. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelley Rose | 5/2/2012

    " Beautiful writing. Loved this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hannah | 3/19/2012

    " This book has some beautiful moments. But, for a book that is just shy of 200 pages, it felt very long. The narrative could have been a bit more plot driven to hold my attention. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Petra | 11/11/2011

    " beautiful, poetic writing that wraps you up in the sea "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kimberlee Bent | 11/2/2011

    " Simply poetic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 D Sarkar | 7/14/2011

    " This book will never grow old. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 5/24/2011

    " From the first you know you are reading literature and not just a story. Banville's sentence structure and language is exciting and the story is engrossing. A very good read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lisa | 5/23/2011

    " I guess it was beautifully written, but I needed much more action. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kathy | 5/21/2011

    " Hmmm, I only picked this up last night in bed. Read 2 pages, and wondered and hoped that it might be less annoying as I proceed.

    Have now just read some reviews and decided not to torture myself, so will put this into my Bookmooch list and let someone else "enjoy" it.
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Harry | 5/9/2011

    " Mostly boring and wandering commentary on death. Decent writing but didn't hold my interest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ctb | 5/8/2011

    " Language I like, but story, characters, purpose hazy "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 4/29/2011

    " This is a quiet meditation on love, loss, memory, life and mourning. It took me a while to settle into the softer rhythm of this novel, but in the end I'm glad I did. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cathie | 4/22/2011

    " Just starting this book. And I find the writing quite nice, but the mood is on the darker side. So I must move on the the next book on my list. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marie | 4/7/2011

    " Difficult to get into, definitely one to re-read when I'm older. "

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About the Author
Author John Banville

John Banville is an Irish novelist and screenwriter. His novel The Book of Evidence was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and won the Guinness Peat Aviation Award. His novel The Sea won the Booker in 2005. He sometimes writes under the open pseudonym Benjamin Black.

About the Narrator

John Lee has read more than 100 audiobooks. His work has garnered multiple Earphones Awards and won AudioFile‘s Best Voice in Fiction & Classics in both 2008 and 2009. He also narrates video games, does voice-over work, and writes plays. He is an accomplished stage actor and has written and co-produced the feature films Breathing Hard and Forfeit. He played Alydon in the 1963–64 Doctor Who serial The Daleks.