Synopses & Reviews
“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.
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 thereHumphrey on the train, Ailsa flyingthey 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.
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 Needles Eye…Drabbles 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, Drabbles novel is as scintillating as a sunny day on board a fast-moving sailboat on the life-sustaining sea.” -Booklist (starred)
About the Author
MARGARET DRABBLE is the author of The Sea Lady, The Seven Sisters, The Peppered Moth, and The Needle's Eye, among other novels. For her contributions to contemporary English literature, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2008.