The Sea, The Sea

Iris Murdoch

I’m so glad to finally be done with this book. This was one of those that I was hoping would have a big payback at the end, but in the end was just disappointing. Long books have no right in being so.

There was a nice symmetry to the story, starting out fairly quiet with our retired actor protagonist beginning to write his memoirs from the seaside home he just moved to from London. As the story finally breaks out of the monotony of his liberated, solitary lifestyle, it becomes a total soap opera involving his first love, who abruptly called things off, disappeared, and married someone else as well as friends (and enemies and jilted lovers) who appear unannounced from London. A frenzy of jealousy and backstabbing builds until a few dramatic events disperse the crowd again. The book ends with a similar quietude to the beginning.