First Published: 1978


The Sea, the Sea

Author: Iris Murdoch

Summary :
Theatre luvvy actor/director star retires to house by sea.

Date acquired: Jan 2022
Date last read: Sun 2nd Jan 2022


No synopsis available



What a load of tosh

by rogerco on Sun 2nd Jan 2022.

I read quite a lot of Iris Murdoch during the 80s and 90s but for some reason missed this one - perhaps because it is rubbish. The lead character (Charles), and only voice, is an unpleasant egotistical misogynist who it is impossible (today) to like or empathise with. Possibly in the 70s his attitudes were more common, and even seen among the middle/upper-middle class world Murdoch inhabits, as being acceptable and even admirable - but it is not so today. (and I don't think I would have found it acceptable then - but who knows). 

The story itself is also quite fantastical, with elements of a Brian Rix bedroom farce as the small cast of characters keep bursting in on Charles's hideaway. I kept expecting that it would be revealed that this was all a dream concocted by Charles in a lunatic asylum.He came across as a totally delusional character and a nasty person - why on earth is Murdoch apparently presenting him as in some way important. There is no relief at the end as he is seemingly ustified and rewarded.

The writing is very 'literary' - something I seem to remember quite liking about Murdoch, but here it comes across as pompous and artificial. I can see why it might have won a literary prize back in the 70s when this is all there was - but now we have such a richer collection of diverse voices getting published there is no need to praise this tosh.

I did persist with this to the end, hoping against hope that it would turn around, but no such luck.

xbBooks by CrOsborne