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.
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.
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