The Sea, The Sea – Iris Murdoch

the sea the seaREAD FOR BOOKCLUB

Chosen by Suzy

Charles Arrowby retires to the seaside to write his memoirs but is constantly under visitation by ex-lovers and friends

☁ “Charles Arrowby, the anti-hero in this book, is a creation of genius. Having retired to a tower by the sea to write his memoirs, he is instead side tracked by a constant stream of visitors but more importantly by his own mental wanderings, imaginings and delusions. His focus becomes his childhood sweetheart Hartley and reclaiming her attentions while destroying her current relationship.

“This satirical look at the lengths to which this inconsistent, contradictory man will go to satisfy his egotistical cravings is Shakespearean in its drama. I adored Arrowby! I despised him! I worried sick about him! I agonised over Hartley’s safety! Each page provoked new sentiments and proved to never be predictable.

“Despite his kooky behaviour and thoughts, or perhaps because of them, Arrowby made everything anomalous and outrageous, but somehow expected and acceptable too. His ability to manipulate everyone, including the reader, is thrilling, and I adored being on this emotional rollercoaster.

“The other stand out personality in this character study was the turbulent sea. A moodiness was instantly created, with the tower on the cliffs and the frothing sea, that injected so much energy into the novel, aping the turmoil in Arrowby’s life.

“Arrowby has become one of new favourite characters and The Sea, The Sea one of my new favourite books” – Rachel

Published 1978
Chatto & Windus
502 pages

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