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Synopsis

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.

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