The Sea, The Sea

Listen to a sample

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

VINTAGE CLASSICS MURDOCH: Funny, subversive, fearless and fiercely intelligent, Iris Murdoch was one of the great writers of the twentieth century. To celebrate her centenary Vintage Classics presents special editions of her greatest and most timeless novels.

‘I saw a monster rising from the waves.’

Charles Arrowby has determined to spend the rest of his days in hermit-like contemplation. He buys a mysteriously damp house on the coast, far from the heady world of the theatre where he made his name, and there he swims in the sea, eats revolting meals and writes his memoirs. But then he meets his childhood sweetheart Hartley, and memories of her lovely, younger self crowd in – along with more recent lovers and friends – to disrupt his self-imposed exile. So instead of ‘learning to be good’, Charles proceeds to demonstrate how very bad he can be.

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 1978.

© Iris Murdoch 1978 (P) Penguin Audio 2020

Critics Review

  • It isn’t all brainy fantasising in Murdochland; there’s wild swimming, appalling sandwiches, death, madness and sex.

    Guardian
  • How bloody good her novels are – how intelligent, how lucent, how divinely crazy. They’re fun – I’d forgotten that

    Guardian
  • Dazzlingly entertaining and inventive

    The Times
  • One of the most ambitious tours de force in many years… There are pages one races through to see what happens. She is a virtuoso at description

    Daily Mail
  • There is no doubt in my mind that Iris Murdoch is one of the most important novelists now writing in English…The power of her imaginative vision, her intelligence and her awareness and revelation of human truth are quite remarkable

    The Times

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to get tailored content recommendations, product updates and info on new releases. Your data is your own: we commit to protect your data and respect your privacy.