The Sea (2005) is the eighteenth novel by Irish author John Banville. The story is told by Max Morden, a self-aware, retired art historian attempting to reconcile himself to the deaths of those whom he loved as a child and as an adult. The novel is written as a reflective journal; the setting always in flux, wholly dependent upon the topic or theme Max feels to write about. Despite the constant fluctuations, Max returns to three settings: his childhood memories of the Graces-a wealthy middle class family living in a rented cottage home, the "Cedars"-during the summer holidays; the months leading up to the death of his wife, Anna; and his present stay at the Cedars cottage home in Ballyless-where he has retreated since Anna's death. These three settings are heavily diced and impromptly jumbled together for the novel's entire duration. Max's final days with Anna were awkward; Max does not know how to act with his soon-to-be-dead wife. Scenes of Anna's dying days are more full of commentary than with actual details, as are most of the novel's settings. It's through these commentaries that we learn of Max's choice to return to the cottage of his childhood memories (after Anna's death), confirming that a room would be available for residence during a visit with his adult daughter, Claire.