Sea Level

Sending request ...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a strong American debut, British author King ( Written on a Stranger's Map ) explores themes of personal discovery and professional disenchantment. William Bender, a British consultant for such international financial organizations as the World Bank and the IMF, is prompted by news of his father's death to reassess his own life. On the South Pacific island of Ruatua, where he's trying to resolve problems caused by previous international meddling, Bender contemplates his childhood and his relationships with his wife, his lovers, in particular the Chinese woman Han and his Ruatuan lover Emo, and his colleagues. He realizes that he is world-weary, no longer emotionally suited to pull off high-level financial deals that require him to ignore the various economic abuses, shady doings and outright crime they often entail. The heart of the novel, however, is his struggle to find his identity. Both he and other characters are not quite what they seem and some have more than one name--Bender, for example, is known as Will, William and Bill. After a somewhat slow beginning, King delivers an elegaic and intelligent study of Bender's growing self-awareness, his increasing willingness to face the truth--and lies--of his past and his simultaneous disillusionment. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In an elegant, detached style, British author King dispassionately scrutinizes the midlife crisis of international aid consultant William Bender. A sophisticated, highly intelligent man, Bender has become world-weary and cynical from constant encounters with the petty corruption of politicians in developing countries. The death of his milkman father is the impetus for Bender to examine both the validity of his work and the shambles of his personal life. His story unfolds in flashbacks from the vantage point of his idyllic existence on the small island of Ruatua: his estrangement from Mireille, his genteel French wife; the erotic hold of Han, his totally unscrupulous Chinese mistress who leads him into decadence; and his ambivalent feelings about his father's limited ambition and seemingly narrow life. Although Bender's British reserve keeps him somewhat distant from the reader, this is an oddly compelling novel that is recommended for larger fiction collections.-- Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780595151011
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/2000
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 0.57 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)