Offshore (novel)

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First edition
Author Penelope Fitzgerald
Cover artist George Murray
Country United Kingdom
Genre Fiction
Publisher HarperCollins
Publication date
Pages 141 pages
ISBN 0-395-47804-9
OCLC 38043106

Offshore (1979) is a novel by Penelope Fitzgerald. It won the Booker Prize for that year. It recalls her time spent on boats in Battersea by the Thames. The novel explores the concept of liminality and 'liminal people'; those who do not belong to the land or the sea, but somewhere in-between. The epigraph, "che mena il vento, e che batte la pioggia, e che s'incontran con si aspre lingue" (whom the wind drives, or whom the rain beats, or those who clash with such bitter tongues) comes from Canto XI of Dante's Inferno.

List of Characters and Their Boats (in order)[edit]

Lord Jim

  • Richard Blake, husband (39 yrs old).
  • Laura Blake, wife (aka. Lollie).


  • Maurice.
  • Harry (Maurice's acquaintance, though he doesn't live on-board).


  • Nenna James, mother.
  • Martha James, teenage daughter.
  • Tilda (Matilda) James, daughter (6 yrs old).
  • Edward (estranged father and husband; never lives on-board).
  • Stripey (the cat).


  • Willis (65yrs old painter, widower).


  • Woodie, husband.
  • Janet, wife (actually lives ashore).
Preceded by
The Sea, the Sea
Booker Prize recipient
Succeeded by
Rites of Passage