Hmm. I recently finished _The Sea_ and I loved the prose -- very immediate and visceral -- and I was equally happy that Banville had imposed a plot on that poetic prose so that the novel actually moved somewhere, got to its rather surprising conclusion (though I must say I didn't buy one aspect of that conclusion, which I shall simply call "Not waving but drowning").Nevertheless, I have to agree with the comment left by one Alan Peart on the original post: Trust the tale and not the teller. I hate it when writers, actors, fine artists try to talk about "the act of creating" -- it always sounds so conceited. The reality is probably more like a great postcard I once saw: A woman stood in front of a small boy who had obviously just flung a platefull of pasta and gravy onto her white apron, completely spattering her front. The caption? "Jackson Pollock and his mother."
The funny thing is, Banville comes off in these interviews as this self-centered guy with a Himalayan opinion of himself - and he isn't that way at all. He is a droll and delightful companion.