The Sea Lady

The Sea Lady : A Late Romance

3.26 (565 ratings by Goodreads)

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Humphrey Clark and Ailsa Kelman spent a summer together as children in Ornemouth, a town by the gray North Sea. Now, as they journey back to receive honorary degrees from a new university there--Humphrey on the train, Ailsa flying--they take stock of their lives, their careers, and their shared personal entanglements, romantic and otherwise. Humphrey is a successful marine biologist, happiest under water, but now retired; Ailsa, scholar and feminist, is celebrated for her pioneering studies of gender. Their mutual pasts unfold in an exquisite portrait of English social life in the latter half of the twentieth century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 345 pages
  • 132.08 x 203.2 x 27.94mm | 340.19g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0156034263
  • 9780156034265
  • 1,014,577

Flap copy

Seductive as the tides, it pulls the reader in. Publishers Weekly Two distinguished guests are traveling separately to a ceremony where they will meet for the first time in three decades. Both are apprehensive as they review the successes and failures of their public lives and their shared personal history.
Humphrey Clark and Ailsa Kelman met as children by the gray North Sea to which they are returning. Humphrey was a serious child, drawn to the underwater world of marine biology. For her part, Ailsa could kick and bite like a pony, and she was as brave as a scorpion, qualities that foreshadowed her dazzling transformation into a flamboyant feminist celebrity. Margaret Drabble traces the evolution of their careers and their passionately entangled relationship, and brings them together again to see what they will make of their past and in what spirit they will be able to face the future.
At her acute, witty best, Margaret Drabble examines the ways in which place, chance, and time merge to make us what we are.
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Back cover copy

Advance Praise for The Sea Lady

It is a pleasure to read The Sea Lady and find again the canny, cagey, unfooled, intransigent author of The Needle s Eye Drabble s generous and unsentimental truthfulness to the condition of childhood is very rare. Ursula Le Guin, The Guardian
[A] dense, fascinating novel Drabble writes beautifully about the passing of time and the sad, incomplete experience of human love. The New Statesman
But for all its dark knowledge, oceanic psychology, and spiny social critique, Drabble s novel is as scintillating as a sunny day on board a fast-moving sailboat on the life-sustaining sea. Booklist (starred)
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Review quote

PRAISE FOR "THE SEA LADY""" "[A] tour de force . . . With lyrical originality Drabble captures the idealistic, eternally self-absorbed paradoxes of the aging baby-boom generation. The result, like its contradictory protagonists, is as sensual as a moonlit beach, as bracing as an offshore wind."—"People "(4 stars) "A thoroughly enchanting blend of scientific erudition, social satire and domestic comedy from a novelist who continues to surprise us."—Ron Charles, "The Washington Post Book World"
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Rating details

565 ratings
3.26 out of 5 stars
5 11% (60)
4 32% (179)
3 38% (213)
2 14% (77)
1 6% (36)
Book ratings by Goodreads
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