Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sea, the Sea” as Want to Read:
The Sea, the Sea
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sea, the Sea

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  12,169 Ratings  ·  787 Reviews
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 amuse himself with Lizzie, an actress he has strung along for many years. None of his plans work out, and his memoir evolves ...more
Paperback, 495 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1978)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sea, the Sea, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Sea, the Sea

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars-books

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
Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”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 ha ...more
Steven  Godin
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, british
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 ...more
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All our failures are ultimately failures in love.
Iris Murdoch

Oh 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 pas
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 E
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 rath
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-novels
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
This is a five-hundred page diary of a madman. Vain, heartless, jealous, rude; all of these, and more, apply to Charles Arrowby, the central character of the novel. Charles is a retired actor who has left London and bought a house (Shruff End) hard by the sea, where he intends to write a memoir of his career, his life and loves. Low and behold he runs into his childhood sweetheart, Hartley, who lives nearby, and his little self-centered world runs completely off the tracks. He sets about trying ...more
I’m fairly certain no one writes, or ever has written, exactly like Iris Murdoch. Reading her prose is like listening to Frank Sinatra sing--you might have heard the song before, but never like that. In the first 200 pages of this book, I could not decide where it was going. Charles seemed an egocentric misogynist, not worthy of the interest I was showing in him. The plot seemed desperately thin and a bit all over the place, but the writing was exquisite, the descriptions were musical, and there ...more
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Luna Punch By Alexander Jansson

تشارلز آروبي ممثل انكليزي مسرحي مشهور، قرر أن يتقاعد حين بلغ الستين من عمره في بيت عتيق و ناء على شط البحر، و طفق يكتب مذكراته... و لكن مشروعه في الانعزال تهشم حين التقى في تلك القرية بحبه القديم هارتلي التي هربت منه قبل أربعين عاما، ليستيقظ الشغف القديم... شغف تحول مع تراكمات السنين و توهمات الذاكرة لهوس أناني انبجس دفعة واحدة... مما أفزع هارتلي التي كانت تعيسة في زواجها حتى تأقلمت مع تعاستها و أصيبت بحالة من الهستيريا حين فرض عليها نفسه و صار يلاحقها... فلو أن شخ
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this both repelling and compulsive, and the more repulsed I became the less capable I seemed of putting it down. I was hooked just several pages in, enamored with the elegant, elegiac tone of Charles Arrowby's attempts at composing a memoir/diary after exiling himself to a remote seaside home to live in monastic isolation. Via Arrowby, Murdoch's prose takes on a sea-like quality, the ebb-and-flow of memories and musings churning together present and past to the point where the edges of r ...more
Iris Murdoch nasceu em Dublin em 1919. Filósofa, poeta, dramaturga e romancista, morreu aos 79 anos com a mente destruída pelo monstro Alzheimer.

O Mar, O Mar - vencedor do Man Booker Prize em 1978 - conta a história de Charles Arrowby, ator e encenador, que aos sessenta anos decide abandonar o teatro, mudar-se para uma aldeia inglesa e comprar uma casa (com uma torre Martello) junto ao mar. Aqui pensa desfrutar de tranquilidade para escrever as suas memórias, comer bem e tomar banhos de mar. No
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

--The Sea, The Sea
Of course Iris wants to leave too.



For technical reasons I am required to add:

rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk
A fabulous investigation into ego and vanity and sexual stalking. Charles Arrowby, a theatre director, retires to a tower by the sea in order to be close to his childhood sweetheart. The novel is narrated by Arrowby himself, who has decided to write his memoirs. Murdoch has created a brilliant unreliable narrator in Arrowby and we, as readers, are forever straining to read between his lines. When he sets out to destroy the marriage of his childhood sweetheart the novel takes on the allure of a t ...more
Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2010
Truth be told, I was scared of the book. Scared of its length, scared I might not like it enough to finish it (I'm very frustrated when I can't finish books - I always feel it's my fault).

Thank goodness Murdoch really knows how to write, I actually loved reading "The Bell" a couple of years ago and I promised myself I'd keep on reading Murdoch. But I never knew which one to continue with, and, yes, I was scared of their length :). And I chose this one because it was mentioned in a really nice in
Dhanaraj Rajan
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
First Impression:

As my GR friend Jean said this is a weird book.

Why is it weird?

1. It is not a typical fiction. It tries to bridge both fiction and biography together. The novel begins with the intention of the main character - writing a memoir. It continues in this stream and suddenly the memoir takes the turn of fictional events and the reader gets enclosed in it. And the end, when the fiction part seems to be ending the memoir part comes up again and acts as the concluding part. The writer t
Ebtihal Abuali
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
الدروس المستفادة من هذه الرواية:
١- الزواج يدمر حياتك
٢- التقاعد يدمر حياتك

وهي رواية مهمة جدا لمن يرغب بالشفاء من الحب الأول.

اعتقد ان اسم منزل (شراف إند) الذي تدور الاحداث فيه مرادف ل (بيت المجانين) في ترجمة ما.

واذا انتقلنا للمراجعة الجادة فهي تبدأ هنا:

أنها رواية جميلة جدا اذا استطعت ان تتجاوز ثرثرة تشارلز في فصل "ما قبل التاريخ"، وهو فصل بارد ومشتت وممل يجعلك تفكر ان تضع الكتاب جانبا لولا أن السرد ليس سيئا بالمرة، لكنك تكتشف لاحقا أن هذا الفصل له أهمية كبيرة لأنه يعطيك الاساس الذي شكل الحياة العا
This is another one for the "What were they thinking?!?" shelf. Doubly so, in fact. It's not just another lapse by the Booker selection committee, whose judgements we already know to take with a large grain of salt. But to be let down so abominably by Dame Iris, someone we know is capable of writing interestingly, though sometimes at the expense of prolixity. Regrettably, in "The Sea, The Sea" we see her giving free rein to her multiple vices, with little of the compensatory acuity that is there ...more
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Back in the 80s, both my wife and I read a number of Iris Murdoch novels. We always enjoyed them, but looking back, they're not exactly the kind of novels you remember much about. They were all similar. Usually they involved several friends (academics or artists or both) thrown together over something, some cheating, love, jealousy, funny dialogue, and usually a tragedy to cap things off. Books I recall liking the best: The Black Prince, A Fairly Honourable Defeat, and The Bell. The Bell (an ear ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book from Booksale Baguio in April 2009 for P30. After reading the book, I thought I would not mind paying P800.00 to read such a wonderful novel. This is included in the 501 Must Read Books and a finalist in Man Booker Prize.

I like the way Dame Iris Murdoch developed her characters and the way she introduced them in the plot. I read this in 5 working days (Monday to Friday) and did most of the readings a home (some in the gym while resting). In the morning, I put the book by my si
Dec 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brits
Murdochs characters are never likable people, they are usually, childish, selfish, obsessive and awful and you can hardly like them at all. But that is what makes her novels so fun. She always knows how to tangle you up in their troubles, lies, betrayals, and tragedies, their ambivalence and doubt,and she gets me at every turn. Charles Arrowby, the main character in this book is no better than any of them. He is en egotist who is impossible to sympathize with because his troubles seem so banal. ...more
Aug 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults. Who love lunch and sea serpents.
Recommended to Alison by: Thanks for the rec, Torie, you knew this was right up my alley!
I was wary about reading Murdoch again after Under the Net, which I didn’t enjoy at all. This one had everything that I love in life and don’t often find united in a novel: elaborate planning for simple tasty lunches; the English seaside; ludicrous and highly improbable action (a sea monster? Can anything more awesome possibly show up in a heretofore realist novel?); and a lot of thought about how to be good and how to love.

One of my favorite things about this novel was the narrator’s kvetching
Leon Story
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is right up there with late Henry James, or perhaps Mann's "The Magic Mountain". Murdoch was a fine moral philosopher, and I would recommend to anyone that (s)he carefully read at least the first chapter of her "Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals" in order to better understand the philosophical underpinnings of this novel. The characters are unbearably self-absorbed, and beautifully drawn. The first-person voice of retired theatrical director Charles Arrowby will pursue you through your dream ...more
مروان البلوشي
تاريخ القراءة الأصلي : 2008
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I always feel incredibly stupid when I fail to appreciate the writing of a highly acclaimed, award-winning author. So, I am feeling very stupid right now. This novel was certainly well written from a technical stand point, but I disliked it as a reading experience. Charles has recently retired from his career in the theater and moved to a seaside home in a small English village. To his delight, he discovers that his childhood crush is living nearby. To his consternation, he learns that this woma ...more
Maria Roxana
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sigur voi purta cartea aceasta cu mine peste tot!

”Tandrețe, încredere absolută, comunicare și adevăr: pe măsură ce îmbătrânești, aceste lucruri capătă din ce în ce mai multă importanță..într-un fel nu trebuie să irosim dragostea, e un lucru atât de rar..
N-am putea oare să ne iubim și să ne întâlnim, în sfârșit, în libertate, fără acea cumplită posesivitate, fără violență și teamă? Dragostea e cea care are importanță.”

”Cât de diferită e fiecare moarte, și totuși ne mână pe aceleași meleaguri ale
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker, ownbooks2016
In re the kidnapping section, I find myself thinking of how the events are bizarre and upsetting, yet the reading experience is mesmerizing, and that in this the book reminds me of Fowles' The Magus. Then, speaking of Fowles, this account of a kidnapping from the decidedly fucked up point of view of the kidnapper is actually much better realized than Fowles own early effort on this front, The Collector.

While reading I found myself thinking that the certainly that one is morally in the right is
Reading this book has been a most unique experience. Never have I read anything so infuriatingly tedious yet strangely compelling, so laughable and bizarre yet quite sad, really.

The story is narrated by Charles Arrowby, a famous London theater director who decides to retire from the limelight and move to a secluded house by the sea to live a more contemplative life. He sets out to write a journal and, for the next hundred pages or so, we are subjected to detailed descriptions of his surroundings
From BBC Radio 4 - Drama:
Jeremy Irons stars Iris Murdoch's 1978 Booker prize winning novel, dramatised by Robin Brooks - as part of the Iris Murdoch season on BBC Radio 4.

Episode 1 (of 2):
Charles Arrowby, a distinguished theatre-director, decides to retire to a remote house by the sea in order to write his memoirs.

Episode 2 (of 2):
Charles Arrowby, a distinguished theatre director, has retired to a remote house by the sea. After encountering his adolescent love, he sets out on a mission to reclai
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Mookse and th...: 1978 Winner: The Sea, the Sea 19 50 Dec 09, 2016 01:28AM  
Snippets That Ins...: A Cure for Chaos? 1 2 Sep 17, 2016 03:12PM  
The Sea, The Sea (pages 1 - 164) 1 6 Aug 06, 2016 06:14PM  
Excellent book 2 32 Sep 28, 2012 01:50AM  
  • Saville
  • Something to Answer For
  • Holiday
  • The Elected Member
  • The Old Devils
  • G.
  • The Conservationist
  • In a Free State
  • How Late it Was, How Late
  • Rites of Passage (To the Ends of the Earth, #1)
  • Offshore
  • The Siege of Krishnapur
  • Staying On
  • Moon Tiger
  • Heat and Dust
  • The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3)
  • Sacred Hunger
  • Last Orders
Dame Jean Iris Murdoch

Irish-born British writer, university lecturer and prolific and highly professional novelist, Iris Murdoch dealt with everyday ethical or moral issues, sometimes in the light of myths. As a writer, she was a perfectionist who did not allow editors to change her text. Murdoch produced 26 novels in 40 years, the last written while she was suffering from Alzheimer disease.

"She w
More about Iris Murdoch...

Share This Book

“Of course reading and thinking are important but, my God, food is important too.” 58 likes
“Then I felt too that I might take this opportunity to tie up a few loose ends, only of course loose ends can never be properly tied, one is always producing new ones. Time, like the sea, unties all knots. Judgements on people are never final, they emerge from summings up which at once suggest the need of a reconsideration. Human arrangements are nothing but loose ends and hazy reckoning, whatever art may otherwise pretend in order to console us.” 50 likes
More quotes…