The Sea, The Sea

December 6, 2011

The first third of Iris Murdoch‘s award-winning novel is obsessively detailed and beautifully written. I asked my wife, “How can a person pour so much imagination into a character? How can they ever find the strength to imagine another character or another story after the effort needed to produce one like this?” Charles Arrowby is alive.

But the book turns a corner and I began to wish that he were dead. His obsession with his past, and our (his, mine) failure to discover what went wrong back there, began to wear me down. Even as I started to spend more and more hours with the book, an anger welled up. “Why can’t you just let go? Don’t you see what you are doing to everyone around you? And to yourself?”


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