Monday, February 27, 2006
I’ve just finished John Banville’s The Sea, and I’m mad.
As a writer I don’t think I’ve got an inflated opinion of my own ability, but on a good day I think I can string the words together with clarity, precision and a certain style.
And then I read Banville and realise that I’m just an old hack. His prose shines. You know those creative writing MFA programs that tell you to leave out all the adjectives? Banville’s clearly never been to one, and his choice of perfect and unexpected adjectives help to fix his images in your mind.
The plotting and slow revelation of his characters is artfully done, and the book deals with grown-up subjects like grief, regret and the beastliness of adolescents.
But it’s the prose itself that lingers. And makes me think I should either become a plumber or work harder at the writing.