book cover

The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch

About the book

When Charles Arrowby retires from his glittering career in the London theatre, he buys a remote house on the rocks by the sea. He hopes to escape from his tumultuous love affairs but unexpectedly bumps into his childhood sweetheart and sets his heart on destroying her marriage. His equilibrium is further disturbed when his friends all decide to come and keep him company and Charles finds his seaside idyll severely threatened by his obsessions.

Reviewed by Wednesday Reading Group:

Wonderful language and writing which kept most of the group fascinated. Such characters – many unlikeable but realistic in their eccentricities.

Star rating: ***

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5 thoughts on “The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch”

  1. Review by Goodworth Clatford WI Reading Group:
    Well written – compulsive reading. Disappointing ending , too rushed – everything wrapped up in a hurry. Charles and egotistical has-been thespian. Caused a lot of discussion and laughter.
    Star rating: ****

  2. Review by Gosport Bookworms Reading Group:
    This is a complex novel and not for the faint-hearted. Only 3 in our group finished it, the rest feeling it did not enthuse them sufficiently to attempt the finishing line – hence the 1* rating. I selected it because i knew it would be a challenge, there being no straightforward plot or clear ending, and the central characters all being tiresome and eccentric to varying degrees. What it did achieve was a lively debate, which is what the group is all about.
    Star rating: *

  3. Review by Southampton U3A Reading Group:
    Although beautifully written, we felt that this book was too long.
    Star rating: ***

  4. Review by King’s Somborne Reading Group:
    Over half the group did not finish it. Too long, contrived and convoluted. Solipsistic characters who were unconvincing and unlikeable. However, there were some lovely evocative descriptions and themes of lost youth, memory and self-examination.
    Rating: 2 Stars

  5. Review by Cliffhangers Reading Group:
    Many felt the book to be too long, found the main character unlikeable and others quite odd. Those of us who enjoyed the book admired the style of writing, especially descriptions of the sea, sky and the village. The introduction to the book was superb and well worth reading for its content alone. We found many phrases and sentences in the the book itself to be eminently worth remembering and even noting down; these led to much discussion as we though through them together. Several of us planned to read the book again as we felt that would be worthwhile.
    Star rating:***

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