The Sea, The Sea

Murdoch, Iris
Publisher: The Folio Society
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 512
Measurements: 17.00 x 23.00 cm

Taking his cue from The Tempest’s Prospero, playwright and director Charles Arrowby leaves London for retirement in a coastal village to ‘abjure magic and become a hermit’. Both seduced and unnerved by his new setting, he begins a journey of self-discovery by writing the story of his colourful theatrical life. Finding himself in the same village as Mary Hartley, the first love of his adolescence whom he perceives is now locked in a brutal marriage, he becomes obsessed with the idea of forcing her to elope with him.\nArrowby’s journal forms the narrative – a master – stroke that enables Murdoch to revel in her character’s egocentricity and fussy, florid language. It is testament to her enormous talent that she conjures up a true monster of modern literature, yet one who remains strangely sympathetic. As Arrowby’s schemes unravel and his memoirs evolve into a chronicle of strange events and almost gothic terrors, he comes at last to gaze ecstatically into ‘the vast soft interior of the universe . . . in calm of mind, all passion spent’. But just how far along the road towards realisation has Arrowby actually come?

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