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The Sea Lady

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In Margaret Drabble’s The Sea LadyAilsa Kelman and Humphrey Clark, both in their 60s, return separately to Ornemouth on the North Sea, where they met as children before crashing through a catastrophic marriage in 1960s London. Ailsa has become a celebrity feminist scholar, Humphrey a noted marine biologist. The occasion for their meeting is a university ceremony, where they both receive an honorary degree. As Ailsa and Humphrey each travel north, they revisit their respective pasts, resplendent with memories of their passions and the ever-present sea. Drabble is adept at lyric metaphor as well as social satire; in Lady, she manages to be both lavish and droll. A-