- John Gaines
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The Sea by John Banville: "'I have carried the memory of that moment through a whole half century, as if it were the emblem of something final, precious and irretrievable,' says the narrator of Banville's Booker Prize-winning novel of a relatively trivial moment. But when he recalls the mother and daughter whom he first loved as a barely pubescent child-whose presence pulled him out of the shadow of his paltry self-he observes, 'The two figures in the scene, I mean Chloe and her mother, are all my own work.' Memory, then, is the subject of this brief but magisterial work, a condensed teardrop of a novel that captures perfectly the essence of irretrievable longing. After the death of his wife, Max has retreated to the seashore where he spent his childhood summers, staying at an inn that was once the home of a magnificent, careless family called the Graces. It's as if reawakening the pain of his first, terrible loss-that high-strung and volatile Chloe-will ease his more recent loss." (Library Journal)
If you enjoyed this title, here are some other titles you may enjoy:
Atonement by Ian McEwan
On a summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment's flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant. But Briony's incomplete grasp of adult motives and her precocious imagination bring about a crime that will change all their lives.
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Prince Myshkin, a good yet simple man, is out of place in the corrupt world created by Russia's ruling class.
The Master by Colm Toibin
Brilliant and profoundly moving, The Master tells the story of Henry James, a man born into one of America's first intellectual families two decades before the Civil War. James left his country to live in Paris, Rome, Venice, and London among privileged artists and writers. In stunningly resonant prose, Tóibín captures the loneliness and longing, the hope and despair of a man who never married, never resolved his sexual identity, and whose forays into intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love.
Parrot and Olivier in America
Olivier is the traumatized child of aristocratic survivors of the French Revolution. Parrot is the motherless son of an itinerant English printer. They are born on different sides of history, but their lives will be connected in the United States by an enigmatic one-armed marquis.
Rites of Passage by William Golding
Edmund Talbot recounts his voyage from England to the Antipodes, and the humiliating confrontation between the stern Captain Anderson and the nervous parson, James Colley, which leads to the latter's death. (worldcat.org)
The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch
Charles Arrowby, leading light of England's theatrical set, retires from glittering London to an isolated home by the sea. He plans to write a memoir about his great love affair with Clement Makin, his mentor, both professionally and personally, and amuse himself with Lizzie, an actress he has strung along for many years. None of his plans work out, and his memoir evolves into a riveting chronicle of the strange events and unexpected visitors-some real, some spectral-that disrupt his world and shake his oversized ego to its very core.
The Stranger by Albert Camus
When a young Algerian named Meursault kills a man, his subsequent imprisonment and trial are puzzling and absurd. The apparently amoral Meursault--who puts little stock in ideas like love and God--seems to be on trial less for his murderous actions, and more for what the authorities believe is his deficient character.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Assuming the power recently lost by the disgraced Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell counsels a mercurial Henry VIII on the latter's efforts to marry Anne Boleyn against the wishes of Rome, a successful endeavor that comes with a dangerous price.