From the award-winning author of The Untouchable ("Contemporary fiction gets no better than this."--Patrick McGrath, The New York Times Book Review), an elegiac, deeply moving, and eminently accessible novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory.The voice we hear is that of Max, a middle-aged Englishman, a writer and self-described dilettante who has been supported by his wife's money. Now, after his wife's recent death, Max has gone back to the seaside town where he lived as a child--a retreat from the grief, anger, and numbness of his new life without her, and a return to the place where he encountered the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time.In a narrative that moves seamlessly back and forth in time, Max relives the childhood summer he met the Graces, a well-healed vacationing family who took him in and unwittingly introduced him to a world of feeling he'd never experienced before. The seductive mother, the imperious father, the twins Chloe and Myles--in whose mysterious connection Max became profoundly entangled--each of them played a part in what Max still remembers as the "barely bearable raw immediacy of childhood."Interwoven with this story are his memories of his past with his wife--and of her long decline into illness--and with moments, both significant and mundane, of his present life: with his grown daughter Claire who wants to pull him from his grief, and with the other boarders at the house where he is staying and where the past beats inside him "like a second heart." What he comes to understand about that past and the way it has shaped his state of heart and mind now is at the center of this emotionally powerful tale.The Sea is a return for the author as well: to the vivid drama and narrative ?lan that were the hallmarks of The Untouchable. It is the best novel yet from this extraordinary writer.