I don't often write about non-Australian books I'm reading but feel that I have to say that I'm mightily impressed by John Banville's The Sea, now that I have finally started.
As soon as I began, though, I had this feeling that the book reminded me of something. Not that I'm accusing the author of anything you understand, just that there was a certain sense of recognition of a story about an old codger returning to a sea-side location at which he had holidayed as a child.
It took me a while but then I remembered a novel I read maybe 15 years ago which also happened to win the Booker prize, way back in 1974. I refer to Stanley Middleton's novel Holiday. I assumed someone else must have seen the similarities but a Google search does not reveal any document containing the two terms "John Banville" and "Stanley Middleton" that is not either a sales catalogue or a list of Booker prize winners.
You might remember Middleton's novel received some unwanted press late last year, and early this, when sample chapters from it, and from V.S Naipaul's In a Free State, were submitted to a number of publishers undercover as new works. Both books were roundly rejected.
As I recall Holiday is not too bad. Of course, our sense of a book changes over time, though I certainly don't remember running from it yelling and screaming. I therefore have to assume it wasn't all bad.
It's at times like this that you have to question your reading perspectives - more than normal I mean. I can't be the only person who has read both books, can I?