No Signposts in the Sea
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No Signposts in the Sea

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Edmund Carr is at sea in more ways than one. An eminent journalist and self-made man, he has recently discovered that he has only a short time to live. Leaving his job on a Fleet Street paper, he takes a passage on a cruise ship where he knows that Laura, a beautiful and intelligent widow whom he secretly admires, will be a fellow passenger. Exhilarated by the distant vist...more
Paperback, 156 pages
Published December 1st 1985 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published January 1st 1961)
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Jul 05, 2013 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no tombstones in the sea
Recommended to Mariel by: Virginia Woolf
She little knows what it means to 'the other Edmund' to let himself go and talk to her. The other Edmund has never had such a friend.

I couldn't find again the passage I really wanted. It really said what it means to me to have this and write what I think about, what matters to me, here on goodreads (and in the imaginary in the head conversations). The little magic space of books and dream it more than one place. It might matter to someone else to know about it too. If you never imagined that oth...more
I'm still quite fond of Vita. I'm still not quite at home with her. I still can't explain just why that is!

And, once again, her book was not at all what I expected! I knew it was about a terminally ill man who chooses to spend his final months on a sea voyage with the woman he (secretly) loves. Reading this, I envisioned frothy, blue prose, a pale, expansive wistfulness. A touch of restlessness. A touch of sensuality. A touch of aristocracy. And, in a way, it is those things. But this is a far m...more
Helen Kitson
This novel deserves to be much better known, and Vita Sackville-West deserves to be known as a quality writer. In the literary shadow of Virginia Woolf as she inevitably is, when I picked up this book I didn't expect the beautifully-written, exquisite gem I found. In it Edmund, who hasn't long to live, decides to spend his remaining days on a sea voyage, in passive pursuit of Laura, the woman he loves.

Edmund, as he contemplates his imminent death, finds a hitherto unsuspected romantic sensibilit...more
Apr 22, 2014 Tiah added it
- Is it any more extraordinary than the things that people will say to one in railway carriages? That their husbands beat them, for instance, or that their son is in prison for forging a cheque. -

- She certainly has the gift of involuntarily drawing people out. I taxed her with fraudulence, for although, as she says, she is interested, it is in a very detached way. -

- The average reader skims; he does not pause to observe what you, Laura, rightly called the pattern. He does not weigh, as the a...more
The novel is a meditation on life, love, what motivates human beings and contains real insight into the ideas of nature vs progress, the limitations of materialism etc - all very relevant to today, amazingly so.
Very philosophical, beautifully written and a joy to read. I think this is the best Vita Sackville-West have written.
A slight little thing, more novella than novel, No signposts in the sea strives very hard to achieve memorability, but just about reaches mediocrity. There are flashes of beauty in the prose, but they don't make up for the deficiencies of characterisation and plot.
What a lovely novella.
A re-read for me!
Edmund Carr, when he learns he hasn't long to live takes a passage on board a ship where he knows that Laura, a beautiful and intelligent widow whom he secretly admires is a fellow passenger.
I loved it even if it did have a sad ending!
I started reading this book because the topic intrigued me - a foreign policy columnist from England, recently diagnosed with some sort of fatal condition that could kill him at any time, traveling on a cruise ship in order to get closer to the object of his affections. The main character was kind of cliched, I thought, and the woman he's obsessed with was also very one-dimensional. But the author's observations about human interaction were on target; I liked when she went off on tangents more t...more
Although the story did not reach the same level as other novels I read by her I do love her clear open and somehow spacious way of writing.
Charming moments, reminiscent of Daddy Longlegs, a rather cliche ending but all endings are, ahem, in the end.
on her craft"The most egotistic of occupations,and the most gratifying while it lasts... and to live in the perusasion that one is doing something worthwhile.Because of course one must hold on to that conviction, or one wouldn't go on. Luckly a writers powers of self delusion are limitless, and oh the smugness of feeling that one has done a good day's work!' p59 There is more that she has to say-- on love ,jealousy, and ocean travelwhich should make this a must read for those of us of a certain...more
I couldn't shake the feeling throughout reading this book that the author was caught up in aging self-absorption as she wrote. It reinforces a suspicion I have that post-middle age sometimes becomes a sort of second adolescence.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed discussion of the end of life. I sympathized with Edmund, even though he behaved foolishly throughout the story, which is perhaps testament to the good qualities of the author. Surely Virginia loved her for a good reason.
Sophie Wainwright
I loved the slow and sure pace of this book and it's elegant structure. The written style and composition suited the simplicity of the story and the fact that from the start, you know how it will end. Reading about the final days of Edmund's life, there is a sense of inevitablity and a continual inherent sadness which is very moving.
This is a lovely small novel. Although I didn't really warm up to the main character, Edmund Carr, I loved the uncredited quotes sprinkled throughout the novel and the descriptions of places visited. This would be a wonderful book for those who cruise to take along to read out loud to one's partner.
David Vanness
My edition is 144 page hardback. I found this very enjoyable. Now I'm looking forward to some of her other works. Any suggestions ?
Short. Not very sweet.
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Aug 19, 2014
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The Hon Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson, best known as Vita Sackville-West, was an English author, poet and gardener. She was known for her exuberant aristocratic life, her passionate affair with the novelist Virginia Woolf, and Sissinghurst Castle Garden, which she and her husband, Sir Harold Nicolson, created at their estate.

The Edwardians (1930) and All Passion Spent (1931) are perh...more
More about Vita Sackville-West...
All Passion Spent The Edwardians Saint Joan of Arc In Your Garden Vita and Harold: The Letters of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson

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