After finishing Irish Short Story Week I wanted to read a few contemporary Irish novels by still new to me writers. I went to my local book store to buy The Sea by John Banville (1945-Ireland), winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize. They did not have that but they did have his The Infinities. We have all seen posts of novels that say the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, well in this case the whole is less than the sum of the parts. Parts of The Infinities are very well done, some of the prose was both beautiful and brilliant. It is about 24 hours in the life of a brilliant mathematician who is suffering a fatal illness. Running parallel to this we have the Greek Gods making comments on events. Clever and first but became trite. Banville is no Salman Rushdie.
Parts of the novel are very good, Banville can write wonderful prose but The Infinities did not work for me. I am sorry I bought this book and would say to other readers try to get a library copy of the book if you want to try it. After reading the book, I checked Goodreads.com to see of I was way out of line with other readers opinion of the book. About 40% of raters said things like, boring and pretentious. 20 percent said it was OK, and 20 percent liked and endorsed it. The characters were uninteresting.
Almost never do I give a book a negative review but I would say whatever else you do refrain from buying it at near $20.00-899PHP- If I had read the reviews on Goodreads before buying I think I would have not bought this book. Where I live there are no libraries so to read a new book I normally must buy.
Has anyone read The Sea?