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The Sea, The Sea Hardcover – Aug 24 1978


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (Aug. 24 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701123397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701123390
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,545,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Dazzlingly entertaining and inventive" The Times

About the Author

Iris Murdoch was a writer and philosopher. She was born in Dublin in 1919 of Anglo-Irish parents. She went to school in Bristol, and read classics at Somerville College, Oxford. She later became a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. Awarded the CBE in 1976, Iris Murdoch was made a DBE in the 1987 New Year's Honours List. She died in February 1999. Her husband John Bayley has written a bestselling memoir of his life with her called Iris and a major film based on this was released in 2001. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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"I am fond of boys as a rule, and was quite disposed to be friendly." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rosemary C. Cappello on Feb. 24 2002
Format: Paperback
Having recently seen the film Iris, and being disappointed inasmuch as it focused mostly on her personal life as a young woman and on her Alzheimer's as an older woman without featuring information about her many novels, I decided that I'd been remiss in never having read her works. I then proceeded to read The Sea, The Sea. This book is deep as the sea, inasmuch as it is about the mental processes of a not-so-good playwright who manages to become famous. The novel turns out to be quite interesting; in fact, fascinating; though at one point, somewhere around page 100, I felt that I didn't give a whit about it all. That was temporary. I returned to the book, read the remaining 4/5ths, and found it rewarding. It starts out on an intimate basis, as if you are reading a letter from a friend, and I utterly loved that ploy. Then, it changes; suddenly, all kinds of twists and turns occur, and though the reader has at first seen Charles, the protagonist, as a humorous man who withdraws from society to a home by the sea (I chuckle, for this house on a cliff in rugged terrain is definitely not the haven which a home should be), circumstances plunge him into temporary madness. The word "sea" conjures so many images of all that the sea can be: wild, calm, loving, cruel. Charles gets to see every aspect of the sea's personality, and we get to see every aspect of his. At one point in the book, Charles' madness is hard to take, as we are drawn in to experience it. In other words, since Charles has chosen a craggy environment in his quest for peace, peace is hard to come by. Charles undergoes an epiphany -- in fact, more than one.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 23 2002
Format: Paperback
The Sea, The Sea has become one of my top five favorite books and Iris Murdoch one of my favorite authors.
In The Sea, The Sea, we meet arrogant, snobbish Charles Arrowby, a retired London theatre director. Charles has recently bought a house by the sea where he hopes to finish his pretentious autobiography. Many things happen, however, to disrupt this enterprise.
First, Charles discovers that one of the small town's inhabitants is his very first love, a love who disappeared from his life in his teens. Believing her to symbolize his lost youth and innocence, Charles becomes obsessed with her almost to the point of madness.
Iris Murdoch's books are all excellent studies of relationships and The Sea, The Sea is certainly one of her best. In it, the character of Charles lies at the center of a vast network of complex relationships and interpersonal interactions. Much of the novel is an exploration of how we, ourselves, influence what others eventually come to see about people and how they relate to them.
Although relationships take center stage in this novel, there is much symbolism and even a little of the supernatural. The sea is so ever-present in this book that it almost seems to be a character in and of itself. Charles reacts to the sea in many ways, some benign, some not so benign. The sea, itself, is portrayed as something that is untimately not able to be understood or controlled, much as is life.
Although this book is passionately moral, it is definitely not a treatise on how to behave in a moral fashion. In fact, many of Murdoch's characters could be said to be anything but "moral.
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By Ruth Westkaemper on July 9 2001
Format: Paperback
A tangled tale acting like an undertow, irresistably drawing people on shore and readers to participate. Like the rocks on the shore, little changes, despite the seemingly overwhelming power of the sea.
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By MVT on Aug. 24 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I hope this is not Murdoch's best work. I find her writing tedious and uninspired and would not recommend this book to anyone.
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