Geschreven bij The Sea, The Sea
Charles Arrowby moves to a house on the seaside after his retirement as a director and actor. He is a person known from television, which impedes his contact with the villagers. He tries to settle in in his new house and find a new rhytm in his life, which mainly consists of writing his memoirs, swimming in the rather rough sea, cooking his meals and drinking substantial amounts of alcohol. Every now and then friends and ex-lovers from his former life visit him. And then one day he meets the girl that was his Big Love during his teenage years. Hartley is married for ages to Ben, but Charles is convinced that she has a bad marriage with Ben abusing her. Then she tells him that her adopted son Titus has left the house and that she cannot trace him. And lo and behold: Titus shows up at Charles' house and he even is a nice lad. All this leads to Charles having more and more delusions that he can convince Hartley to join him and Titus and leave Ben. It even comes so far that he kidnaps Hartley and locks her up, but the only she wants is going back to Ben. Eventually Charles' nephew James, the only sane person in Charles' entourage convinces him to return Hartley home. But Charles keeps dreaming that Hartley will return to him one day. Even two disturbing events in which the sea plays a crucial role cannot change his conviction, until Ben and Hartley take a drastic decision. In the meantime Charles is getting crazier and crazier, also under the influence of the ever pounding waves. In the postscript Charles has returned to London and looks back on this episode in his life. Even though he is still not completely sane, he is much more in touch with reality than he was at the sea.
A beautifully complex novel that contains so many story lines that it is very difficult to do it justice in a short review. All characters, both human and non-human (the sea) are described with all their complexities and interactions. A novel that is more than 35 years old but still not outdated. Not a fast read: especially the middle part where Charles is completely obsessed with Hartley are sometimes chafing so much that you have to put the book away for a little while. But that is also the strength of a good author. I'm very glad I read this one.