The Sea


Title: The Sea

Author: John Benville

Translator: Assadollah Amrayi

Publisher: Horizon

Subject: English story

Age category: Adult

Cover: Paperback

Number of pages: 216 p

Language: Farsi

Categories: ,


The Sea won John Bookville the 2005 Booker Prize for Writer. His other novel, Kepler, won the Guardian Prize in 1981. The recent defeat of Max Murdon (art history historian) takes him back to the village where he spent his childhood vacation.

Grace’s family had come from another world many years ago that summer. Their twin children, Max’s age, catch his eye. Miles is the dumb son of the family and Chloe is the daughter of a torn fire. The novel Sea is a mixture of memory and love.

William John Benville was born in 1945 in Ireland. He has published thirteen novels and currently resides in Dublin. He won the Man Booker Prize for Literature in 2005 for his book The Sea. Nashragh has introduced this author to Iranians for the first time by the novel Darya and with the unique translation of Assadollah Amrayi.

The beginning of the sea book is as follows:
The gods said goodbye; On the day of the strange tide, the bay water rose and rose all morning under the blue sky, and it closed at an altitude that no one had ever seen before.

Small waves slid on the hot sands, which had not seen any moisture for years, except occasional rain. The rusty cargo ship had been stranded across the bay for years, and no one remembers being shaken, and now everyone thought it might start again with these waves.

Sea Book
The special and vague beginning of the book of the sea indicates that the reader is going to be confronted with a simple but ambiguous narrative. This book has two chapters. The story begins in the first chapter of an old house: the house of the cedars. Cedar means free cedar. The narrator is a historian who has lost his wife and now returns to a village in Ireland where he spent his vacation many years ago and recounts his memories. He prefers to walk in the past, can not stand the death of his wife and hates his current situation. ‌

The first pages of the book provide unique and memorable descriptions of this house; It is as if the author intends to immerse the reader in the story with his descriptions, which is a simple narrative of the memories of a man who, now, in middle age, has returned to a place where he spent his adolescence and youth and revives everything by reviewing his memories. Surprised that the house has not changed much from the past:

When we arrived, I was surprised to see that the village I remember was not shaken. It was as if some eyes knew where to look, the eyes that were mine. It was as if we were dealing with an old flame whose narrow lines have massed over time but are easily recognizable.
We passed the abandoned railway station and reached the small bridge, which remained intact, right in its place! When I drew my eyes on the bridge, I remembered everything, as if it suddenly rose and fell and everything came to life before my eyes, the road to the hill and the beach that was down and the sea. I did not stop at home. I just slowed down as we passed. There are moments when the past appears with such force that it seems to destroy one. (Sea Book – Page 41)

The second chapter begins with the author’s seaside memoirs. This chapter is a little simpler than the first, and the author tries to give a more accurate picture of what is in the narrator’s mind. But the mind of the audience is still preoccupied with questions that remain unanswered from the beginning of the story; Including the narrator whose name changes several times or death as if lurking in the place of the story.

John Benville skillfully describes the individual characters of that house, their appearance and their interior. So heartwarming that sometimes you find yourself among them and try to imagine their faces in your imagination according to the descriptions.
The prose of the author is not unlike that of the four thousand Italian writers whose memoirs he reviews in the book Moon and Fire. That’s the whole story; The story of a man who thinks he was young, his life was very calm and now he misses that time and lives with his memories.

Everything about this seaside town is accurately described, from the streets and alleys to the cafes and cars and people, even the mood of the characters who used to live there. Thus, as each page of the book is read, a wave of imagination and imagination takes over the reader.

The Irish narrator gradually encounters familiar faces and at the same time remembers the past and sometimes regrets losing it, longing for the smell of coffee that the doctor made after lunch, longing for the candlestick pots on the porch, longing for the old love whose fate was not decided, longing The creaking sound of his typewriter in the study, but what a pity that those days are no more.
The sea is full of details. Imagine you went on a picnic and you are going to describe it. When John Benville writes of a picnic in his book, he begins with the protrusions of a leather car seat and the asphalt of the street; They brought with them, from the smell of pine and grass and ferns beneath their feet, from the young girl of Chloe, whose Irish narrator puts a few locusts in a can to calm her down and throws them in paraffin and fire, and Chloe watches them grilled and entertained.

Do you know an author who accurately describes a seemingly ordinary event?

Sometimes he thinks that all that he has is too much for him. Bitter and sweet memories surround him. In the turmoil of memories, he travels to other lives, to other people, and to live between living beings as a cure for inner peace:

These days I have to interpret the world as wisdom, it is a kind of homeopathic treatment. Although I’m not sure where this treatment will fix me. Maybe I will learn to live among the living again. I mean practice. But no, that’s not the case. Being here does not mean that I am not somewhere else. (Sea Book – Page 155)

Throughout the story, the narrator seeks to find himself and his identity, something that many of us have become alienated from, away from our true selves, but think we know others well. Indeed, when we do not know ourselves, how can we think of knowing another?
For readers who are looking for a lively story full of events and happenings, this book is not a good choice, because the sea has a monotonous course and narrative seemingly complex and inward, and John Benville’s prose is bold, but for those interested in descriptive novels with a poetic tone. That the boundary between fantasy and reality is not clear, would undoubtedly be a worthy choice. It goes without saying that the characters of the novel experience events at the end of the story that the reader never expects.

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1- Introducing the book  on YouTube

2- Introducing the book  in Aparat

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