The Sea Lady

3.27 avg rating
( 551 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780141027456: The Sea Lady

This is the story of Humphrey Clark and Ailsa Kelman, who spent a summer together as children in Ornemouth, a town by the gray North Sea. As they journey back to Ornemouth to receive honorary degrees from a new university there—Humphrey on the train, Ailsa flying—they take stock of their lives over the past thirty years, their careers, and their shared personal entanglements. Humphrey is a successful marine biologist, happiest under water, but now retired; Ailsa, scholar and feminist, is celebrated for her pioneering studies of gender and for her gift for lucid and dramatic exposition. The memories of their lives unfold as Margaret Drabble exquisitely details the social life in England in the second half of the last century.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Margaret Drabble has brought all her many gifts to bear in this excellent novel, The Sea Lady. It is scientific, sociological, romantic, psychological, ironic, satiric, poignant, downright funny, and even rather mysterious in some parts.

It is the story of Humphrey Clark and Ailsa Kelman, now in their sixties and traveling--separately--to receive honorary degrees from a university in Ornemouth, a town on the North Sea. They met in Ornemouth when they were children, spent one summer together along with a local boy, Sandy Clegg, and Ailsa's brother, Tommy. It was that kind of summer which, however brief, has a bearing on the rest of one's life. Humphrey Clark's introduction to the sea sets him on his career path. Newly minted personalities were coming into being, the cruelty of children was all around, every moment was writ large in the minds of all of them, especially Humphrey.

Now, more than 50 years have passed and both Ailsa and Humphrey are reminiscing--Ailsa, typically, on an airplane, and Humphrey, just as typically, on a train. Their accounts of the last 50-plus years are unsparing, recounting their successes and failures, the places where their lives intersected and the results of those meetings, their professional and personal lives--all that has brought them to this day. Their memories are attenuated through the prism of their individual differences of temperament and interests. Humphrey is an innocent and a bit of a plodder, having made his name as a marine biologist, while Ailsa, the feminist, is a wild card: "Ailsa Kelman lacks method, but what she lacks in method she makes up for in energy and originality and output and panache." They could not be more different, but when did that ever stand in the way of connection? They have been brought to this ceremony by Sandy Clegg, now Alistair Macfarlane, whose own story is worth knowing.

The sea and its creatures are the metaphors that inform the story and at the end, we see that this meeting between Ailsa and Humphrey is "a journey of purification." This is Drabble at her very best. --Valerie Ryan

Book Description:

Published in hardcover by Harcourt, 2007, 978-0-15-101263-3/0-15-101263-6

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Margaret Drabble
Published by Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom (2007)
ISBN 10: 0141027452 ISBN 13: 9780141027456
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The most recent novel by Margaret Drabble, The Sea Lady tells a story of first and last love, of evolution and the ebb and flow of time that gives shape to our lives.Humphrey and Ailsa meet as children by a grey, northern sea. Humphrey is quiet, serious - and will in time explore the sea s mysteries; Ailsa is angry, a freckled cobra ready to strike. Yet they fascinate one another and when they meet again years later they fall briefly - and disastrously - in love. Half a lifetime passes before Humphrey and Ailsa s paths finally re-cross. What will each make of their past? And of the future? The Sea Lady proves [Drabble] remains one of the most thought-provoking and intellectually challenging writers around FT Magazine A pleasure to read . . . utterly engrossing Guardian Drabble excels at describing the minute detail of human behaviour . . . The Sea Lady is a potent tribute to lost dreams and harsh realities IndependentMargaret Drabble was born in 1939 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, the daughter of barrister and novelist John F. Drabble, and sister of novelist A.S. Byatt. She is the author of eighteen novels and eight works of non-fiction, including biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson. Her many novels include The Radiant Way (1987), A Natural Curiosity (1989), The Gates of Ivory (1991), The Peppered Moth (2000), The Seven Sisters (2002) and The Red Queen (2004) all of which are published by Penguin. In 1980, Margaret Drabble was made a CBE and in 2008 she was made DBE. She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd, and lives in London and Somerset. Bookseller Inventory # AAW9780141027456

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 17.81
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Margaret Drabble
Published by Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom (2007)
ISBN 10: 0141027452 ISBN 13: 9780141027456
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The most recent novel by Margaret Drabble, The Sea Lady tells a story of first and last love, of evolution and the ebb and flow of time that gives shape to our lives.Humphrey and Ailsa meet as children by a grey, northern sea. Humphrey is quiet, serious - and will in time explore the sea s mysteries; Ailsa is angry, a freckled cobra ready to strike. Yet they fascinate one another and when they meet again years later they fall briefly - and disastrously - in love. Half a lifetime passes before Humphrey and Ailsa s paths finally re-cross. What will each make of their past? And of the future? The Sea Lady proves [Drabble] remains one of the most thought-provoking and intellectually challenging writers around FT Magazine A pleasure to read . . . utterly engrossing Guardian Drabble excels at describing the minute detail of human behaviour . . . The Sea Lady is a potent tribute to lost dreams and harsh realities IndependentMargaret Drabble was born in 1939 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, the daughter of barrister and novelist John F. Drabble, and sister of novelist A.S. Byatt. She is the author of eighteen novels and eight works of non-fiction, including biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson. Her many novels include The Radiant Way (1987), A Natural Curiosity (1989), The Gates of Ivory (1991), The Peppered Moth (2000), The Seven Sisters (2002) and The Red Queen (2004) all of which are published by Penguin. In 1980, Margaret Drabble was made a CBE and in 2008 she was made DBE. She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd, and lives in London and Somerset. Bookseller Inventory # AAW9780141027456

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 18.46
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Drabble, Margaret (Author)
Published by Penguin (2007)
ISBN 10: 0141027452 ISBN 13: 9780141027456
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 352 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0141027452

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 15.07
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: £ 6
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Margaret Drabble
Published by Penguin (2007)
ISBN 10: 0141027452 ISBN 13: 9780141027456
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0141027452

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 26.76
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds