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Something Special: A Story by Iris Murdoch
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Something Special: A Story (1957)

by Iris Murdoch

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1325136,563 (3.09)1 / 24

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Showing 5 of 5
This poignant story looks at the choices available to an Irish woman in her twenties. Yvonne's mother and uncle would like her to marry her current suitor. Yvonne wants to hold out for something special. A Saturday evening date reveals just how differently Yvonne and her suitor define “special.” The evening's events lead Yvonne to reassess her options.

This story was published in its entirety after Murdoch's death as a stand-alone illustrated book. While it has a strong sense of place in the outskirts of Dublin, the characterization is a bit weak. I wonder if Murdoch didn't have it published because she wasn't satisfied with it. ( )
  cbl_tn | Aug 5, 2015 |
In this short novella Yvonne lives with her mother and her uncle, she and her mum sharing one room and her uncle having the other. She isn't a young thing and her family is constantly at her about marrying. There is a young man who wishes to marry her but she is not drawn to him. However there is not much to do and so she regularly goes out walking with him. Rather a downtrodden tale, I still found it very interesting and unable to put down until I had completed it. It's very short so it took no time at all. I, still a babe in the woods when it comes to Murdoch, go down the garden path with her thinking that I know where I am going and again, BAM!, you aren't there anymore and possibly never were. She fascinates me. I recommend this novella and rated it 3 1/2 stars. ( )
2 vote rainpebble | Mar 2, 2013 |
I have never read any of Iris Murdoch's books, so I thought this was a quick way of getting a feel for her. This is a very short story, and Iris Murdoch's only short story, but it gets right to the point quickly, being set as it is over just one night. It left me wondering what sort of life the two main characters will go on to live, not a happy one I feel. ( )
  Fliss88 | Mar 27, 2011 |
This recently discovered story – apparently from the 1940s – reveals Murdoch’s talent at an earlier stage than most of her novels. The story seems a bit awkward in parts, and does not have that smooth flowing prose of her novels, especially, The Bell, The Book and the Brotherhood, and The Green Knight. Nevertheless, as I work my way through her 26 novels (I am about half-way through), I enjoy seeing a slightly different side of one of the 20th century’s great novelists. Michael McCurdy adds interesting illustrations of scenes from the story.

After reading Peter Conradi’s thoroughly detailed biography, I can see some of the young Murdoch and her attitude toward marriage in Yvonne Geary. She does not seem inclined toward marriage, and Sam Goldman does not seem a good fit for the independent minded Yvonne.

A nice slim little book, and only because I am spoiled by the wonderful prose of Murdoch do I give this 4 stars.

--Jim, 3/13/11 ( )
1 vote rmckeown | Mar 19, 2011 |
Bought 18 May 2008 - Booth's Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye

Something special indeed - a short story by Murdoch, previously unpublished except in an unfindable anthology, and in Japan. It's an odd little story, written in the 1950s and set on one evening in an atmospheric Dublin. Apart from the lake, hidden garden and capricious woman, this does not have many Murdochian hallmarks, but it's an entertaining and wistful, if overly short, read. ( )
1 vote LyzzyBee | Aug 28, 2008 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Iris Murdochprimary authorall editionscalculated
McCurdy, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Why wouldn't you take him now?' said Mrs Geary.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393050076, Hardcover)

An unforgettable tale of love and repression, appearing in book form for the first time. Beautifully produced and hauntingly illustrated, this unknown work by Iris Murdoch (1918-1999) is something very special indeed. Previously unpublished but for an excerpt in a 1950s anthology, this is a bittersweet, haunting story. Yvonne, an ordinary, bold young Irish woman, believes that there's more to life than marriage to Sam, the dutiful Jewish lad who is courting her. Set in Dublin, against the vividly recognizable backdrop of the author's native city in the 1950s, Something Special is written with a wry humor and penetrating insight that evokes the psychological tension of James Joyce's "The Dead." Gorgeously illustrated with line drawings by the renowned American artist Michael McCurdy, Something Special is a perfect gift for all occasions, but especially for anyone in love. Line drawings.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:12 -0400)

Yvonne believes there's more to life than marriage to Sam, the young man who's courting her. But when she tries to have fun, she gets caught up in a fracas in a bar. Sam's idea of "something special" meanwhile is to take her to St Stephen's Green later that night to show her a ghostly tree!… (more)

Legacy Library: Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See Iris Murdoch's legacy profile.

See Iris Murdoch's author page.

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