Sea Me, Sea Him?

Well that was a turn up for the, ah, books. John Banville’s The Sea has won this year’s Booker Prize. Good for him.

As a stylist, Banville has few real rivals, yet I find his books very hard work. Of those I have read, not much happens in them – people generally sit about in houses and wait for something to happen – so they’re pretty hard to pick up and read for an hour or so every day, especially if you don’t use a bookmark.

It took me nearly a month to get through Eclipse, which I suspect was due to reading chunks of it twice or thrice without even realising. Then I read Shroud, and I wasn’t sure if I’d finished Eclipse yet. The Book of Evidence was magnificent, however.

Perhaps for a full appreciation of Banville’s prose you need to be able to spend all your days sitting around reading books. Few, beyond Booker Prize judges, have that sort of time.

As for the other books on the list, the only one I have read so far is A Long, Long Way by Sebastian Barry, which I thought was superb. I also bought the Julian Barnes one a while back, but haven’t got round to it. My own Booker 2005 verdict is still on course for September 2006.

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