John Banville won the 2005 Man Booker Prize for this book. His writing is self-conciously literary which I'm sure will turn a lot of people off, but if you don't mind that kind of thing, it really is beautifully written. He talks about the sea being "malignantly agleam." A hotel is "flocculent" (which dictionary.com tells me means
1. a clump or tuft of wool.
2.covered with a soft, woolly substance.
3.consisting of or containing loose woolly masses.
4.flocky. (- by far my personal favorite of the bunch)
5.Chemistry. consisting of flocs and floccules.)
Also, I like his clear disregard for bonhomie when he said the last 15 years of Man Booker winners "populist" and "middle brow!" Ouch! Way to make friends! (if you want to check out for yourself why he's not having tea with Zadie Smith or Ian McEwan anytime soon, see this: http://books.guardian.co.uk/bookerprize2005/story/0,,1590052,00.html