The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch ( found time to write 26 novels whilst pursuing a career as a philosophy lecturer at Oxford.

The Sea, The Sea (1978) has the following outline. Charles Arrowby, leading light of England’s theatrical set, retires from glittering London to an isolated home by the sea. He plans to write a memoir about his great love affair with Clement Makin, his mentor, both professionally and personally. Lizzie, an actress he has strung along for many years, is there to amuse him.

None of his plans work out, and his memoir evolves into a riveting chronicle of the strange events and unexpected visitors – some real, some spectral – that disrupt his world and shake his oversized ego to its very core.

This can be read as a study in the psychology of motivation, and some pretty devious and conflicted motivations at that. It is also about self-obsession.

Winner of The Booker Prize 1978. 560 pages in the Vintage Classics paperback edition.

ISBN 978-0099284093

Iris Murdoch

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