“The room was much as I remembered it, or looked as if it was as I remembered, for memories are always eager to match themselves seamlessly to the things and places of a revisited past.” – Max in The Sea by John Banville
Sometimes I really dislike Max, the narrator of The Sea. The way he describes some women rubs me the wrong way and he can be pompous in his descriptions of locations and feelings. But then suddenly he comes up with a beautiful observation like the quote above. He is a man looking back at his live because he sees very little of it if he tries to look ahead and this leads to an interesting perspective on youth, adulthood, and memories.
The Sea is because of the long sentences not a quick read. I’ve started and finished other books while reading it, but I am having the urge to sometimes write a blogpost like this one (and the last one) because of something I’ve read in The Sea. So while it is taking me a long time to read this book, it’s giving me thoughts, and that is always a good sign.
“Yes, this is what I thought adulthood would be, a kind of long indian summer, a state of tranquillity, of calm incuriousness, with nothing left of the barely bearable raw immediacy of childhood, all the things solved that had puzzled me when I was small, all mysteries settled, all questions answered, and the moments dripping away, unnoticed almost, drip by golden drip, towards the final, almost unnoticed, quietus.” – Max, in The Sea by John Banville
When I was a child, I believed that there were things adults just knew, and that I would know them too when I grew up. No effort in learning required. The world doesn’t work that way, gaining knowledge always requires time, effort and inquisitiveness. The feeling of being puzzled, of having questions never really goes away. The secret is that adulthood means only added responsibilities in addition to freedoms that are different than those of a child. It’s a gradual process, one that never really ends.
In other news: Holy longest sentence ever, Banville! And repeating the ‘unnoticed almost’/’almost unnoticed’ is unnecessary and should have been caught by the editor.