> Skip to content

'One of the best and most important writers writing in English-dazzlingly entertaining and inventive' - The Times

The sea: turbulent and leaden, transparent and opaque, magician and mother... When Charles Arrowby, over sixty, a demi god of the theatre- director, playwright and actor - retires from his glittering London world in order to `abjure magic and become a hermit', it is to the sea that he turns. He hopes at least to escape from `the woman' - but unexpectedly meets one whom he loved long ago. His Buddhist cousin, James, also arrives. He is menaced by a monster from the deep. Charles finds his `solitude' peopled by the drama of his own fantasies and obsessions.


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

Dazzlingly entertaining and inventive

The Times

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    September 3, 1999

    Vintage Classics

    560 pages

    RRP $14.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    May 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    560 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Iris Murdoch

The Sea, The Sea & A Severed Head
Living on Paper
The Sea, The Sea (Vintage Summer)
Jackson's Dilemma
The Sacred And Profane Love Machine
The Black Prince
The Bell
Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals
The Book And The Brotherhood
An Accidental Man
The Sandcastle
A Word Child
The Time Of The Angels
Henry And Cato
A Fairly Honourable Defeat
The Red And The Green
Under The Net
A Severed Head
Nuns And Soldiers
The Unicorn
An Unofficial Rose
Bruno's Dream


To Kill A Mockingbird
War and Peace
The Handmaid's Tale
Pride And Prejudice
Brave New World
Robinson Crusoe
Treasure Island
The Great Gatsby
The Picture of Dorian Gray
A Farewell To Arms
Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition
Heart Of Darkness
A Gentleman in Moscow
Best Laid Plans
Echo Burning
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle