The 1978 Booker Prize-winning “The Sea, the Sea” by Iris Murdoch offers a very different take on the life by the sea. The novel follows a retired theater director who ‘leaves it all’ and moves to a secluded house on the coast. Living as a hermit, he decides to take pleasure in simple things - food, daily swimming in the sea and writing. That is, until he comes across his first love, now in her 60s, married, and living just around the corner…. And this is where the plot starts taking unexpected twists (we will not spoil this for you)! This funny, engaging and easy-flowing book is a marvelous character study, rife with black humour and observations of human vanity, egotism and self-delusion. And it might be just what you need if if you are also entertaining a dream of moving, one day, to a secluded place somewhere by the sea…
Charles Arrowby has determined to spend the rest of his days in hermit-like contemplation. He buys a mysteriously damp house on the coast, far from the heady world of the theatre where he made his name, and there he swims in the sea, eats revolting meals and writes his memoirs. But then he meets his childhood sweetheart Hartley, and memories of her lovely, younger self crowd in - along with more recent lovers and friends - to disrupt his self-imposed exile. So instead of 'learning to be good', Charles proceeds to demonstrate how very bad he can be.
Praise and awards
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 1978
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