- Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics
- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1 edition (March 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 014118616X
- ISBN-13: 978-0141186160
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sea, the Sea (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – March 1, 2001
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"There is no doubt in my mind that Iris Murdoch is one of the most important novelists now writing in English...The power of her imaginative vision, her intelligence and her awareness and revelation of human truth are quite remarkable" The Times "Dazzlingly entertaining and inventive" The Times "Funny and poignant and arguably Murdoch's finest hour" Daily Express "A fantastic feat of imagination as well as a marvellous sustained piece of writing" Vogue "An enjoyable, thought-provoking and unforgettable novel" Daily Mail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Dame Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) was one of the most acclaimed British writers of the twentieth century. Very prolific, she wrote twenty-six novels, four books of philosophy, five plays, a volume of poetry, a libretto, and numerous essays before developing Alzheimer's disease in the mid-1990s. Her novels have won many prizes: the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Black Prince, the Whitbread Literary Award for Fiction for The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, and the Booker Prize for The Sea, The Sea. She herself was also the recipient of many esteemed awards: Dame of the Order of the British Empire, the Royal Society of Literature's Companion of Literature award, and the National Arts Club's (New York) Medal of Honor for Literature. In 2008, she was named one of the Times' (London) 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
Mary Kinzie is the author of Ghost Ship and The Cure of Poetry in an Age of Prose.
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Top Customer Reviews
You are more likely to enjoy this book if you can enjoy a book with long, wandering descriptions, stream of consciousness such as Ulysses, or a meandering through someone else's life,. . I think that older people will understand the book better than younger people.
If you need a plot, excitement, or need to understand what is going on at all times, this is not the book for you.
I had to interrupt my reading of this book several times. I read it on Kindle and highlighted, not the great passages, but items that seemed significant in terms of understanding the characters and what was going on. In fact, after reading about 100 pages, I went back and skimmed/highlighted. This was helpful, especially since my reading was interrupted. I read the last 10% after a break of almost 5 months and was able to pick right up on the story. It seems that this would be a good way to read the book: read a bit and put it aside, then go back and read a bit more, or flip through the earlier parts and re read. If you are the type of person who thinks about life, and meaning, then you will enjoy this. I don't think I would have enjoyed this when I was younger, although, who knows? I have gone back and read many books that I read in my 20s and they seem to be different books. Maybe this book would be the same: one book for a young person and another for an older person. If a young person can get through it, it might be very educational and even helpful- not as a moral guide, but to put perspective on one's own life as it is lived.
I'm going to make a stab at saying what this book is about. There are several summaries of the "plot". The interesting thing is that many of them vary except in the basic outlines. That is because one's reaction to this book is going to vary according to the level at which one reads it. I have only a superficial acquaintance with philosophy or mythology and several other areas of knowledge. I sense that there are many levels of understanding this book and no one will have access to all of them. What I do have is a broad experience of life, so that is what I was able to understand in this book.
What I think is going on here is that Charles is talking about parts of his life, with an emphasis on his obsession with Hartley, a woman whom he loved as a young man, and whom he may still love. That is the superficial story. Meanwhile, other people come and go in his life. Many of them are also obsessed, often with him. Sometimes they are obsessed with other aspects of life: the theater, Buddhism, patriotism. Each time they come into his life, he thinks differently about them and often they are thinking differently about him. Unlike many novels, in this book, many of the "minor" characters have a character arc. The the arc is not like one that is satisfying in a Hollywood movie, it is an arc that is more closely aligned with the arc of one's life. It can be satisfying, or surprising, or stupid.
As different things happen in his life, he reflects upon his relationship with Hartley differently,which serves to inform us,not so much about Hartley, as about the lead character and his own development. In the same way, the sea is not an objective inanimate object, but Charles' relationship with the sea reflects his mood and his thoughts. Charles also has many relationships with others. They start out at one point and continue to grow and develop in their own, separate lives. As they develop, they relate to him differently and he also changes his opinion about them, sometimes based on a re-thinking of past events, and sometimes in reaction to changes in that person. In the end, perhaps there is an answer, or perhaps it is random and doesn't make a neat story-like life.
Nabokov once said something along the lines of that one needs to read a novel at least twice to truly understand it. This is one of the books that will bear re-reading and will probably give gifts on a second, third, or even fifth reading. It is great literature, and a great experience, but not for everyone.
Often when one rereads a book they read earlier in their lives, one is disappointed. However, that was not the case here.
Her erudition is next to none, but her writing flows easily. Her characters seem larger than life, but, on reflection, they are really the same people we have around us, and of course even ourselves. Through these characters, she examines the human condition with amazing plots and twists and turns. Still one of my very favourite authors. I always feel sorry when one of her books end, and live with it for days after.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a book to read and then read again to absorb all the brilliant insight!!Read more