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Here s the first thing I love about The Sea, The Sea its title Isn t it wonderful Imagine how boring it would have looked on a shelf if it had just been called The Sea But with that profoundly simple decision to repeat itself, it suddenly drips horror and madness and obsession It s just brilliant Almost makes me wish Emily Bronte had called her book The Moor, The Moor And then Murdoch plays this terrific game with the opening sentence The sea which lies before me as I write glows rather than sparkles in the bland May sunshine.Which is the boring first sentence of a book that should be called The Sea It even says bland Blahhhh, lame, until you get to the next paragraph I had written the above, destined to be the opening paragraph of my memoirs, when something happened which was so extraordinary and so horrible that I cannot bring myself to describe it even now after an interval of time and although a possible, though not totally reassuring, explanation has occurred to me And there s the first sentence of a book called The Sea, The Sea Whee Off we go, madness and horror. An extraordinary novel, at once page turner and philosophic, comic and melodramatic, one of the best that I ve read Murdoch is remarkably skilled at inhabiting the minds of her protagonists, and Charles Arrowby, a late middle aged, bumbling, morally dubious, veteran of theater, is a wondrous creation The first 100 pages of this novel shouldn t work, as Charles, in journal form, moves to Shruff s end and inhabits a lonely house by the sea, wanders around town, experiences visions that he blames on LSD about which,soon , goes on lengthy diatribes about food For lunch, I may say, I ate and greatly enjoyed the following anchovy paste on hot buttered toast, then baked beans and kidney beans with chopped celery, tomatoes, lemon juice, and olive oil really good olive oil is essential this goes on for another 15 lines and thinks about his life Though this early section is essentially pure exposition, it works, and I was oddly gripped I was especially fascinated by what Murdoch left under the surface THE SEA THE SEA has to be record holder for characters mentioned who never appear you can track the sub narratives of at least a dozen acquaintances of Charles, such as a chauffeur who he feels he s wronged who shows up for exactly three paragraphs 400 pages in but is discussed incessantly beforehand.And then, at the end of these 100 pages, the twist, one of the greatest twists in literature All along, the journal hints at a lost love from childhood, one who comes up over and over again All a child s blind fear was there, the fear that my mother so early inspired in me the kiss withheld, the candle taken Hartley, my Hartley Yes, I see her quickly jumping over a rope, higher and higher it was raised, Hartley still flew over, the watchers sighing each time with sympathetic relief and I hugging my heart in secret pride She was the champion jumper of the school Hartley always first, and I cheering with the rest and laughing with secret joy Hartley, in a breathless stillness, crouched upon a parallel bar, her bare thighs gleaming The games master spoke of the Olympics A sequence of jilted lovers visits and leaves, and the last s headlights reveals the woman herself Hartley, now old, in the woman in town who Charles has kept walking by without noticing And then a string of completely insane coincidences begins It s a bit difficult to summarize there s Charles s cousin James, who might have magical powers I can t believe this book pulls off a mysticism sub plot Hartley s estranged adopted son Hartley s husband, surely, surely the model for Albert in The Bear Comes Over The Mountain, Lizzie the love obsessed actress, and her gay partner Gilbert Opian, the novel s saving grace, who has a 50 page lite BDSM sequence where he intentionally debases himself as Charles s Butler Rosina, who is also in love with Charles and wants to kill him, and HER husband who Charles stole her from, though their friendship is unaffected Clement Makin, who is dead and quite possibly the actual love of Charles s life and of course Hartley, who Charles stalks and eventually kidnaps It s as good a cast as I can remember in a book, and they function like Shakespearean ghosts Shruff s End is clearly meant to be thought of as a stage, with exits on all sides and a clear set, and characters come crashing into it at all hours of the night As with her punchier, slightly less ambitious SEVERED HEAD, we tolerate this madness because the characters are so fully realized, because it is so madcap, so fun to read Things slow down in the third act, which bears some resemblances to Proust s THE CAPTIVE, as the book achieves a stasis that it doesn t want to have An extraordinary night party sequence brings the energy back up, and the ending, totally bizarre, is virtually perfect.I regret, greatly, not reading Murdoch sooner This is a big, sloppy, flawed book, and I couldn t sleep for 3 straight nights until I finished reading it Make the time for it. Even a middling novelist can tell quite a lot of truth His humble medium is on the side of truth Whereas the theatre, even at its most realistic , is connected with the level at which, and the methods by which, we tell our everyday lies This is the sense in which ordinary theatre resembles life, and dramatists are disgraceful liars unless they are very good On the other hand, in a purely formal sense the theatre is the nearest to poetry of all the arts I used to think that if I could have been a poet I would never have bothered with the theatre at all, but of course this is nonsense What I needed with all my starved and silent soul was just that particular way of shouting back at the world The theatre is an attack on mankind carried on by magic to victimise an audience every night, to make them laugh and cry and suffer and miss their trains Of course actors regard audiences as enemies, to be deceived, drugged, incarcerated, stupefied This is partly because the audience is also a court against which there is no appeal Schruff End Charles Arrowby s place by The Sea.Charles Arrowby has retired from the theatre to a damp, drafty, but dramatic home by the sea His plan is to live on his own, read, and eat well while he writes his memoirs He is famous, certainly well known enough to be recognized on the street from his days acting and directing on the stage He wants to be anonymous, but as I can tell anyone from personal experience the last place one can be anonymous is in a small townI could have told you the country is the least peaceful and private place to live The most peaceful and secluded place in the world is a flat in Kensington I found myself liking him I especially enjoyed reading about him figuring out this life of reading, eating, and writing It sounds ideal As the plot advances it will take many shattering blows for me to let go of the Arrowby I liked and replace him with a man that is on the verge of lunacy Charles may miss the drama of the stage, but he doesn t miss it for long because his life becomes a stage play It all starts to unwind when he goes to the village and sees his first love, Hartley appear as if by magic As it turns out he is the only one that calls her Hartley everyone else calls her Mary He knew her briefly before the war and during the war, as happened with many people, he lost track of her Her life is a Mary life not a Hartley life Charles can not accept the person he sees before him She must metamorphosize and he is the man to make it happenI saw a stout elderly woman in a shapeless brown tent like dress, holding a shopping bag and working her way, very slowly as if in a dream, along the street, past the Black Lion in the direction of the shop This figure, which I had so vaguely, idly, noticed before was now utterly changing in my eyes The whole world was its background And between me and it there hovered, perhaps for the last time, the vision of a slim long legged girl with gleaming thighs Oh good lord Now Clement, who he actually talks the least about of all his lovers seems to be the woman that made him into the successful man he is todayClement was the reality of my life, its bread and its wine She made me, she invented me, she created me, she was my university, my partner, my teacher, my mother, later my child, my soul s mate, my absolute mistress Clement made him feel so good that he did not attempt to find Hartley She kept him from his one true love bybeingsoterrific The Poor Bastard.Lizzie visits him, another one of his ex lovers She has decided to move in with their mutual friend GilbertLizzie is half Scottish, half Sephardi Jew Although she has the most adorable breasts of any woman I ever made love to, she is not really beautiful, and never was even when she was young, but she has charmUnfortunately Lizzie is still in love with Charles and even though he really doesn t want her back he doesn t want her with Gilbert either Jealousy is born with love, but does not always die with love Rosina shows up as well yet another ex lover They can t let him go any better than he can let them go She is a famous actress almost as obsessed with Charles as Charles is becoming with Hartley She breaks into house not once, but several times and soon knows all there is to know about this silly Hartley business It seems that Charles broke up her marriage and then casually tossed her aside, but Rosina as it turns out is not the type to be so casually flung anywhere She islikely to pick Charles up and fling him into the sea or run over him with her car or brain him with a rock Charles seems to have a most powerful effect on women, but his charms are having no influence on Hartley Despite being resoundingly rebuffed his fantasy continues to growHer large brow, which looked white in the candlelight, was puckered and pitted with little shadows, but the way she had turned up the collar of her green cotton coat behind her hair gave her a girlish look Perhaps that was what she used to do with her mackintosh collar in the days when we went bicycling And even as I was listening intently to her words I was all the time gazing with a kind of creative passion at her candlelit face, like some god reassembling her beauty for my own purposes Own purposes indeedShe did not have to join my grand intimidating alien world To wed his beggar maid the king would, and how gladly, become a beggar too The vision of that healing humility would henceforth be my guide This was indeed the very condition of her freedom, why had I not seen this before I would at last see her face changing It was, I found, a part of my thought of the future that when she was with me Hartley would actually regain much of her old beauty like a prisoner released from a labour camp who at first looks old, but then with freedom and rest and good food soon becomes young again Okay so he is losing all grip on reality, but isn t that what actors do They make the role their own and transcend the script.This book won the Booker Prize in 1978 This is the first Iris Murdoch I ve read and I ve got to say how impressed I am by her writing style and ability I can t believe I ve never read her before She wrote twenty five works of fiction until 1995 when she began to experience the early stages of Alzheimer s Disease which she at first attributed to writer s block There is something so sad about a woman who thinks her writing ability has simply shut down only to learn that her body is failing her She hadstories to tell us, but unfortunately they became locked up in the corridors of her mind with doors without knobs and crooked, meandering hallways Iris MurdochWhen we first meet Charles he seems like a man that we would love to know, a favorite uncle or a friend to grab a beer with occasionally As we get to know him better his selfishness, his egotism, his dramatic persona turns him into a person that I would avoid as if he were sporting bubonic plague Murdoch brings us along, masterfully, through the dementia of Charles s growing obsession with possessing something that frankly no longer exists By the end he has proved to be as chimeric as the youthful HartleyLast night someone on a BBC quiz did not know who I was Ah the sea, that wonderful spectacle bringing joy to countless many, whether swimming, diving, surfing, fishing, boating, splashing about in waist high water or just simply strolling along the shoreline whist the tide tickles your feet But for some they won t go anywhere near it, all thanks to a certain Steven Spielberg film For Iris Murdoch s fictional character Charles Arrowby, getting munched on by a shark is not likely and the last thing on his mind, after all, this is the British coast we are dealing with here The former theatre playwright and actor just wanted to escape and retire by the sea, away from London, away from everyone, to be left alone Could he have foreseen the life ahead of him seeing a sea serpent, believing a ghost is wondering around his home, running into women from his past good and bad, nearly drowning through an apparent attempted murder, or ending up with a houseful of unwanted guests, apart from the one he does want, Hartley, his childhood love.This 1978 Booker prize winning novel was a feast of reading, rich, textured, deep characters and a story that keep me intrigued throughout It was a study of vanity and self delusionthan anything else, with Charles Arrowby the egomaniac narrator a most unlikable person, moving to Shruff End, a house with a tower by the cliffs How huge it is, how empty, this great space for which I have been longing all my life, Arrowby writes He would clamber down the rocks and take to the sea come rain or shine for a swim, letting the calm of the water engulf him Arrowby is writing his memoirs, and his attempt to chronicle his successful career in the histrionic arts, he wants to be a hermit and indulge in fine wine, gourmet food, whist pondering over his history.But with nothing but his writings, it is inevitable that Arrowby will create some sort of drama in his boring life, even in this isolated spot, and this he does, by attempting to draw his former lover Lizzie into his new life while trying to destroy the marriage of his childhood sweetheart, Hartley the one he really loves Other visitors would appear on the scene to congregate at his new abode, shedding light on Arrowby s past and present including his Buddhist armed forces cousin, James, and various theatrical ex lovers and ex friends Their relationships start to reveal the shallow ways of Arrowby s self knowledge, as well as his ability to be a manipulating bully, and a complete belligerent asshole Murdoch s subtly and blackly humorous digs, periodically build into waves of hilarity, and Arrowby although on the whole unlikable is without doubt a brilliant creation a deeply textured, intriguing narrator that you just can t get enough of, leading to one of the finest character studies of the 20th century But Murdoch also uses a cast of supporting characters to great effect, Hartley, a gray, worn and distraught woman living through the pain of a marriage than doesn t seem just, the jealous, raging ex lover Rosina, Peregrine, an old friend who may have alternative motives for his visit, Titus, a young man that turns out to be Hartley s son, and cousin James, who may or may not have some sort of Tibetan superhuman ability, they all work into the story tremendously well.In intricately charting the multifaceted deceptions of Charles Arrowby, Murdoch adeptly elaborates on a motif that followed her in her lifelong concern with Good, with Love, and with Freedom to be good one must transform the personal into the impersonal, one must escape one s private self and concern oneself with others Inspired by Shakespeare s The Tempest , The Sea, The Sea brilliantly depicts the risks and self deceptions of life, the precarious and important distinction between imagination and fantasy, and the vital importance of negotiating these dangers.My only gripe, there were too many moments when I wanted to push Arrowby into the sea myself, for his constant whining, other than that it s writing of a virtuoso, tour de force nature. The Sea the Sea by Iris Murdoch, is her 20th novel, which won the Booker prize in 1978 The author famously was an academic a professor of Philosophy at Oxford University, who also wrote novels with a philosophical focus.The novel is in the form of a journal The viewpoint character throughout is a famous actor and director, Charles Arrowby The impression we gain immediately is that he is a solitary, rather arrogant and egotistical individual In the novel he has decided to retire to Shruff End a dilapidated and creaky old house on a rocky promontory next to the sea He tells us that he has decided to get away from London life once and for all, and to follow his dream of living in seclusion, much to the bewilderment and scepticism of all his theatre friends.The journal he writes, and which we are reading, is an attempt to form some structure to his life, and to be a memoir of sorts But even though he professes to be writing details of the house and village, he seems to find it impossible to concentrate on the job he has set himself, which he says is the reason for being there in the first place He becomes distracted inordinately easily even the food he prepares is an excuse He rambles on about his culinary activities both past and present,guzzling large quantities of expensive, pretentious, often mediocre food in public places was not only immoral, unhealthy and unaesthetic, but also unpleasurable Later my guests were offered simple chez moi What isdelicious than fresh hot buttered toast, with or without the addition of bloater paste Or plain boiled onions with a little corned beef if desired This gives us the measure of the man faddish and particular to the point of eccentricity And given subsequent events in the novel, it is probably important for the author to get the reader on Charles s side, to enjoy his little foibles and forgive him what appears to be fanciful and conceited notions about himself.Increasingly Charles has little grumbles about the privations of his self imposed exile, reporting spooky goings on He half imagines there is a poltergeist, as things keep mysteriously getting smashed view spoiler In the event this turns out to be a red herring An old girlfriend had been indulging in a spot of mischief making hide spoiler I struggled with this for a while, mainly because I was so irritated by Charles Arrowby, the main character and unreliable narrator Arrowby is a retired actor, director and playwright who has moved to a remote cottage by the sea and is tentatively writing his memoirs Whole successions of characters, many of them former lovers, arrive and depart and Charles encounters his first love Hartley who has also retired to the area with her husband Like many of Murdoch s characters Arrowby is not very likeable and seems completely oblivious to the mayhem he creates among his nearest and dearest I also found myself increasingly irritated by what he did with food nothing kinky here if Murdoch meant him to be annoying, she wrote him very well There is moral complexity and ambiguity as Arrowby tries to recapture his first love literally The cast of secondary characters are strong and are not there for mere ornament Cousin James is an interesting counterpoint to Arrowby.The Sea is an ever present and the title comes from Xenophon s Anabasis, an account of the travels of 10,000 Greek mercenary soldiers who end up getting stranded in the middle of the Persian Empire They have to fight their way through hostile areas to the Black Sea coastline near Greece The cry of The Sea, The Sea is one of joy and relief it is symbolic of home the home Arrowby wants in his twilight years However there is a French poem which has the line The Sea, The Sea, forever restarting and that also has resonance as Arrowby tells his story It will be no surprise to know Murdoch s favourite Shakespeare play is The Tempest and there are parallels Arrowby is an odd Prospero The sea serpent is a strange addition and the Freudians have had a field day with that one However, the principal idea here, the key to all Murdoch s fiction is contingency Murdoch usually has purpose in her literature she argued that religion and philosophy had lost their oomph a technical term and potency in explaining the human condition and can be described as dry see her essay called Against Dryness It is up to literature to provide what religion and philosophy now cannot an interesting argument Murdoch stresses the importance of the accidental, unpredictable and life s sheer messiness this is what she means by contingency Contingency invades Charles Arrowby s life with monotonous regularity and the ending is unresolved, messy and indeed contingent. Be careful what you wish for Jealousy is born with love, but doesn t always die with love. Do you yearn for your first love to spend just a moment together What if your sighting was accidental, unexpected, and you were unprepared Do you really love them still or is it your youthful self you love Is stalking a passive act, a safety valve Or does it forge the innocent past into a twisted vision of the future Maybe cousin James is right You ve built a cage of needs and installed her in an empty space in the middle using her image as an exorcism. Image The Gilded Cage of Female Oppression by Denise R Duarte Source and detailsDrama must create a factitious spell binding present moment and imprison the spectator in it My 13th Murdoch is her best known and most lauded it s also the one I enjoyed the least I was not spellbound by this story of death and moral smash up that the narrator likens to Henry James The Wings of the Dove There are many interesting and worthwhile ideas, big characters, and some lovely phrases, but overall, a ludicrous number of coincidences, convoluted machinations, and individual or group introspections were dragged out over too many pages The final Postscript added little of worth Even the title is twice as long as it needs to be I am my well known self, made glittering and brittle by fame. Charles Arrowby is a playwright, actor, and director who, in his sixties, retires to a remote coastal cottage though he s probably not as successful as he d like readers to believe Last night someone on a BBC quiz did not know who I was. The book is his memoir cum diary cum novel of a few eventful months at Shruff End He bumps into his childhood sweetheart, Mary Hartley, who had disappeared in their teens Cue quests, plots, reminiscences, and theatrical friends and ex lovers, plus mysterious cousin James, dropping in at crucial moments There s also incarceration, attempted murder, near death experiences, actual death, missing and found persons, possible supernatural events, a sea monster, and some strange meals.Charles is a self confessed unreliable narrator He relishes the sight, sounds, and feel of the sea, as he looks back on his life and loves, including a formative relationship with a much older woman, Clement Murdoch s narrator, written in 1978 reminded strongly of two of John Banville s characters Max Morden in The Sea of 2005 see my review HERE and especially retired actor Alex Cleave in Ancient Light of 2012, who had a formative relationship with a much older woman see my review HERE.But Murdoch s writing is less sensuous than Banville s, and Charles is a less sympathetic character He s not just a vain, self centred, controlling, patronising, misogynist who slants and reinterprets events to fit what he wants to believe he s actively scheming, abusive, deliberately delusional, and switches between being oblivious to and relishing the disappointments and pain of others.But I ve long loved this quote, and recently found it very helpful I forgive a lot, just for coming across it, in context One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats. Who s Playing Whom Murdoch s novels always have at least one Svengali figure Charles is the obvious candidate his career is highly relevant, he controls the narrative we read, and towards the end, he says I was the dreamer, I the magician But there are several other contenders, and that was the most interesting puzzle for me Rosina, James, even Titus or Hartley Image Marionette on a theatrical stage, by Daniel Beauchamp Source Deep and MeaningfulThoselearned and enthused than I am can consider the symbolism of the serpent, the inner room, the broken mirror, and many nods to theatre, Shakespeare Prospero, in The Tempest , and classical mythology Perseus and Andromeda, Orpheus and Euridice, Plato s cave , and whether freedom can be imposed In addition Every persisting marriage is based on fear. Don t marry Maybe don t cohabit There are no happy couples in this book, and marriage is a dark and unknowable institution The awful crying of souls in guilt and pain, loathing each other, tied to each other The inferno of marriage. Everyone is away from familiar territory London, in most cases , and that shapes events, enhanced or exacerbated by the slight unreality of the liminal location between rocks and sea, in an isolated house with no electricity.I m sure whole theses have been written about Charles cousin, James he s a fellow only child, but raised in farprivileged circumstances James is a successful retired general, a Buddhist mystic, possible spy, and may be gay Charles was and is always competing with him, though realises James probably barely realised and certainly didn t care My own feeling that I have won the game comes partly from a sense that he has been disappointed by life, whereas I have not. James also has amystical role as conscience, advisor, guardian, and saviour.Fun Food Cook fast, eat slowly. An unexpected delight was Charles dedication to creative, simple gastronomy, including liberal use of the tin opener It was entertainingly odd, pompous, and specific, and it reminded me of my late father s approach, as well as the amusingly bizarre, but not hugely relevant, outfits described in detail in Philip K Dick s Ubik see my review HERE Anchovy paste on hot buttered toast, then baked beans and kidney beans with chopped celery, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil Then bananas and cream with white sugar Bananas should be cut, never mashed, and the cream should be thin Then hard water biscuits with New Zealand butter and Wensleydale cheese Of course I never touch foreign cheeses. And Lentil soup, followed by chipolata sausages served with boiled onions and apples stewed in tea, then dried apricots and shortcake biscuits Fresh apricots are best of course, but the dried kind, soaked for twenty four hours and then well drained, make a heavenly accompaniment for any sort of mildly sweet biscuit or cake They are especially good with anything made of almonds, and thus consort happily with red wine. Image The meal described above, made by Valerie Stivers Source, with notes The fact Charles was limited in what he could buy, store, and cook, reminded me of Jack Munroe s Tin Can Cook 75 Simple Store Cupboard Recipes, being given away by food banks support that HERE , and also on sale.There s a restaurant inspired by Murdoch s book see HERE , but nothing on the menu is remotely like anything described by Charles In particular, he laments the lack of fresh fish, but it s a fish restaurant HERE Quotes Watching the waves come flying through a rock bridge killing themselves in fits of rage Of course the water is very cold, but after a few seconds it seems to coat the body in a kind of warm silvery skin, as if one had acquired the scales of a merman The challenged blood rejoices with a new strength Yes, this is my natural element There is not a vestige of beastly sand anywhere I have heard it called an ugly coast Long may it be deemed so The rocks are sandy yellow in colour, covered with crystalline flecks, and are folded into large ungainly incoherent heaps The mild hostility of the villagers does not worry me They know who I am But they have been at pains to exhibit indifference We lived upon a housing estate where loneliness was combined with lack of privacy I hate the falsity of grand dinner parties where, amid much kissing, there is the appearance of intimacy where there is really none I want you to be the lord and the king as you ve always been Yeah, right she said that Felt a little depressed but was cheered up by supper spaghetti with a little butter and dried basil Basil is of course the king of herbs Then spring cabbage cooked slowly with dill Boiled onions served with bran, herbs, soya oil and tomatoes, with one egg beaten in With these, a slice or two of cold tinned corned beef Meat is really just an excuse for eating vegetables Only a fool despises tomato ketchup A bright fierce little moon was shining, dimming the stars and pouring metallic brilliance into the sea and animating the land with the ghostly intent presences of quiet rocks and trees The grass was a pollulating emerald green, the rocks that grew here and there among the grass were almost dazzlingly alight with little diamonds The vivid dark light The sea was menacingly quiet Time, like the sea, unties all knots Judgements of people are never final. All our failures are ultimately failures in love Iris MurdochOh boy This is deep, dudes Far out and deeply deep, dudettes.Rather than trying my unworthy hand at a thorough analysis of a psychologically complex 500 page novel, I shall lay track for a few grooves Dig it.Near the beginning, I thought it might be a romance No way, man More like a real Mystery of Mental and Emotional Health and Well being.What is love How is the idea or thought of it, especially young love, affected by the passage of time, what with our tendency to romanticize our youth The painful paradox of the ego false pride , with its fang ed sea serpent jealousy, blinding us to reason, depriving us of patience and filling us with anger, all of which operates to ruin the very love that our innate sexuality tells us to cherish above all else The ways we lie to ourselves to enable the fantasy, even to the edge of sanity, that another loves us despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.This is a thought provoker that goes down some murky places in the mind Some readers may be turned off by what at times seems like a long windedness of the first person narrator Although it seemed to me, after finishing it, that 50 pages could have been trimmed, I haven t studied it enough to make conclude that those 50 were unneeded, and not the kick that pushed this novel into classic territory.I could delve into all my thoughts triggered by the profundity of Iris Murdoch It would be a ramble for it reminds me of how I languished in damaged love s lassitudes all the day I finished it So, in that respect, I couldn t have read atimely book.This is a surefire 4.5 stars on the water. 5 Jungian Stars 2015 Gold Award Tie First Favorite Read Over the weekend I was sitting with a friend, having a tea and we were reading She said, How is the Murdoch book I looked up and without pausing or thinking and said Simply wondrous She tilted her head in her adorable way and said Whatsitabout I took a moment, sighed and exclaimed, Everything This book is a psycho spiritual masterpiece of the highest caliber I decided to sit down and come up with a laundry list of what it is about the stars and earth isolation, connection, misunderstandings, avoidance narcissistic men and histrionic women misunderstood boys and romantic girls wine, cheese, mushrooms and biscuits tea even when its not drunk Buddhist demons and Christian saints dreams, concussions, drownings, death petty cruelties, belittlement and acts of supreme generosity heterosexual passions and homosexual cravings theatre, woodworking, cooking and music merboys, seals, ghosts and sea dragons vengeance and apathy interpretations, neurosis and delusions minutiae and momentary insights sullen villagers and grandiose urbanites dogs, cats and many roses lost loves and childhood musings churches, taxis and pubs murderous rages and spiritual awakenings vulgarities and tender exchanges stagnation, repetition and momentary joyMost of all it is about the depth and changeability of the Sea The Sea that with one swoosh can take away all that we hold dear and understanding that we never held it in the first place.Absolutely amazing Thank you Ms Murdoch. `Download Book ↟ The Sea, The Sea ↽ 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, And To Amuse Himself With Lizzie, An Actress He Has Strung Along For Many Years 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 CoreIn Exposing The Jumble Of Motivations That Drive Arrowby And The Other Characters, Iris Murdoch Lays Bare The Truth Of Untruth The Human Vanity, Jealousy, And Lack Of Compassion Behind The Disguises They Present To The World Played Out Against A Vividly Rendered Landscape And Filled With Allusions To Myth And Magic, Charles S Confrontation With The Tidal Rips Of Love And Forgiveness Is One Of Murdoch S Most Moving And Powerful Novels