My favourite Iris Murdoch book

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My favourite Iris Murdoch book

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1LyzzyBee
Nov 1, 2007, 6:41pm

Right, I'll kick this off - which is your favourite Iris Murdoch novel? I think mine are The Sea, The Sea or The Philosopher's Pupil.

2tomcatMurr
Nov 7, 2007, 8:01am

Could you say why?

3twacorbies
Nov 7, 2007, 5:31pm

I've been thinking of picking up a copy of The Sea, The Sea. Do you think it's a good one to start off with, having never read any other book by Murdoch?

4LyzzyBee
Nov 7, 2007, 7:33pm

OK - why? Well, they are big, satisfying books (I read fast). The plots are intricate but followable, and work around big themes of love, redemption, goodness. I love the settings - a wild coast and the underbubblings of a spa town. The first person narrators are different (very personal, flawed, in The Sea The Sea, an omniscient (or is he?) slight outsider/chorus in PP). Finally, they are technically excellent, which pleases, while being genuinely enthralling. I have read both several times.

No 3 - yes, I would think it's a good one to start with, or you can start at the beginning with Under The Net, which is amusing and quite slight, but does include, actually, a lot of her themes that are developed in later books.

5twacorbies
Nov 7, 2007, 8:40pm

Thanks Lyzzy, I was also considering Under the Net. I think I'll start with The Sea once I get through my current reading pile.

6tomcatMurr
Nov 8, 2007, 7:55am

IMO Under the Net is her best book. It's her funniest, and the same time, her most profound.

7edwinbcn
Edited: Nov 8, 2007, 9:01am

I am a great fan of Iris Murdoch and have read a large number of her novels. I particularly like the novels which have a strong plot, rather than the novels that present a (very) large number of characters. In this respect I have the best memories of The bell which is also the first novel I read (also one of the first novels I read in English), and her later works, such as The Philosopher's pupil, The sea, the sea and Message to the planet.

8mcshaw2 First Message
Dec 6, 2007, 11:35am

I ver much like The Good Apprentice and The Bell. I've personally very interested in Murdoch's religious ideas, which makes Henry & Cato, The Bell, & A Time of the Angels very interesting. Of course, the latter is almost too dark!

9Heaven-Ali
Dec 15, 2007, 3:45pm

Well I probably haven't read enough I M books to judge - although that should be remedied over the next year or so as you know Liz : ) However I have read a severed Head most recently and enjoyed it so much it made me want to read more Iris Murdoch books. I also have a vague memory of reading The sea, The sea, and although it was too long ago to remember much about it - I know I enjoyed it. I have probably only read about five Iris Murdoch books in my life however so I can't claim any real special knowledge.

10joehutcheon
Edited: Dec 15, 2007, 3:55pm

My favourite is Under the Net; it's very funny, and nothing too terrible happens to the characters. Second place would be A Severed Head or The Bell. Her later books tend to go on a bit, and the names get silly.

11LyzzyBee
Dec 16, 2007, 4:35pm

Heaven-Ali and I (and another friend of ours, not a LTer) have a plan to read / re-read all of IM's works in chronological order of published date, one per month over the next 2 years. If we post our thoughts here, would anyone else be interested in joining in the discussion?

12almigwin
May 19, 2008, 7:54am

#11: I look forward to your discussions, and will join in for the ones I am currently reading. I have read them all so many years ago that they are quite forgotten and I have begun over again, but not in publication order.

I just finished the nice and the good and am now reading An unofficial rose. I thought the nice and the good was a fun romp through the english countryside, in the family of an upper civil servant, but it was not believable.

I can't imagine all those characters living in such close proximity to someone else's life.Also, Octavian's marriage was not believable either. If he was so unnattractive, how come his wife was mad about him?

13LyzzyBee
May 19, 2008, 10:07am

Cool ! I will try to summarise our discussions on here - as 2 of us aren't LTers, we are using a Yahoo Group to keep track and discuss the books. We're on A Severed Head at the moment - have you read that one recently?

14almigwin
May 20, 2008, 6:18am

Sorry, Lyzzy; I haven't read it recently enough to comment, but look forward to reading yours.

15yooperprof
Jun 15, 2008, 8:11pm

My favorite is The Black Prince which I love for its allusions to Hamlet and Lolita and for its open-ending as well. It's also got a lot of my favorite Murdochian quotes!

16murunbuchstansangur
Edited: Aug 30, 2009, 10:58am

Hi, great group! My favourite would have to be The Bell - which I'm ashamed to say I intially read because of hauntingly persistent memories of the BBC's TV serialisation, seen when I was a teenager. I've recently been catching up on her catalogue; my other favourites so far have been The Nice and the Good, and A Fairly Honourable Defeat. I'm now reading The Sandcastle and enjoying it very much. The only Murdoch I haven't taken to has been The Flight from the Enchanter, which I didn't finish - perhaps I'll revisit it. Love this thread!

17LyzzyBee
Aug 30, 2009, 2:05pm

Ooh glad this thread has been revived! A group of us are reading all the novels in order, we're about to start on The Sacred and Profane Love Machine. Yooperprof I enjoyed The Black Prince but the others in the group didn't at all!

18murunbuchstansangur
Sep 4, 2009, 10:59am

Oh, I just ordered the Love Machine from the library! I hope you'll post your thoughts on it as you go along?

19LyzzyBee
Sep 5, 2009, 3:23am

Would you like to join our yahoo group for discussing it? We pick out themes to talk about once we've read the book and you can see our previous discussions too? There's a small core of us who actually know each other in Real Life but we have guest visitors too and you're welcome to join us! Leave me a profile message with your email address and I'll send you an invitation if you'd like...

20murunbuchstansangur
Sep 10, 2009, 11:18am

Thank you, Lyzzybee, I'll do that!

21LyzzyBee
Sep 11, 2009, 4:16am

And you should have an invitation by now! See you in the group! I'm starting reading the book at the weekend, I hope...

22murunbuchstansangur
Sep 11, 2009, 3:42pm

Excellent! I'm two chapters in and the book doesn't disappoint, plenty of action already and some dark, disturbing material to both savour and wince through. Oh what a tangled web indeed!

23LyzzyBee
Sep 12, 2009, 12:02pm

Cool! Did you get the invitation OK and manage to join the group? I haven't had a notification yet...

24murunbuchstansangur
Edited: Sep 19, 2009, 5:14pm

Hi LyzzyBee, yes, thanks, I got the invite and have logged on (in?) to your group pages. And I've finished the book! It's far darker than any Murdoch I've read so far, no less enjoyable for all that, but still .. dark!

25LyzzyBee
Sep 20, 2009, 3:48am

Ah - you must have been reading early ones then!! I am about a quarter of the way through and enjoying it. I've posted a hello to you on the group, if you feel like it do introduce yourself there. Sorry I didn't do that before but it didn't alert me that you'd joined!

26murunbuchstansangur
Sep 21, 2009, 12:29pm

Cool, I must read on! Although I'm not really going in chronological order. I've ordered The Sea the Sea from the library; after that I fancy The Black Prince and The Unicorn. Hope you're enjoying the Love Machine! Will pop back to your group pages soon ..

27monia1033
Nov 16, 2009, 12:06pm

Hi! I need little help from some Murdoch lovers. My MA work is devoted to Iris Murdoch. And I have to choose three of her books which I want to discuss. The question is: which books may one call the essence of Murdoch's philosophy, personality etc.?

28LyzzyBee
Nov 16, 2009, 3:37pm

Oh wonderful!

I'd take maybe an early, a mid and a late one.

A Severed Head is playful, full of Murdochian characters and her ideas on psychoanalysis

The Philosopher's Pupil is about philosophy, life and community

The Book And The Brotherhood is about politics, education, Murdochian characters again...

It depends what you want to discuss really... what themes in particular etc. Do let us know how you get on!

29monia1033
Nov 18, 2009, 1:50pm

Thanks! I will discuss your proposals with my supervisor. I am at the very beggining so I dont know so really on what precisely will I focus. I will keep informing you about the progress ;)

30LyzzyBee
Nov 18, 2009, 3:54pm

There are so many sets of choices though! Good luck with it!

31edwardii72
Mar 5, 2010, 2:45pm

hey, I've just finished IM's 'the Bell', and i wish to read more books of hers, but i do not know which one I'd better start with, I have: The black prince, The Sea the Sea, and the Book and the Brotherhood... which would you recommend

32LyzzyBee
Mar 5, 2010, 3:26pm

Well I would rate them in this order (best at the top):
The Sea
The Book
THe Black Prince

everyone else in my reading group disliked the Black Prince but the interesting thing is that both it and The Sea have a male main character around whom all the action centres... so an interesting contrast.

What aspects of The Bell did you like or dislike?

Sea won the Booker Prize so that might be a good recommendation...

Come back and let us know what you think of whichever you read!

33edwardii72
Mar 6, 2010, 3:52am

well, thanks, I'll start immediately with the Sea, The Sea.

as for what aspects of the Bell did I like or dislike; it is a great deep work that dipicts the dilmma of the human being, this vulnerable/frail creature, in a world governed by rules and codes, and religious absolutes and ideals; in a world where the need to love and be loved is a vital aspect in the human life (Maslow's hierarchy of needs).

Dame Iris was creative in showing the conflicts between the 'Id' and the 'super-ego', and the necessity of poeple to be in compliance with the religious instruction and social codes, otherwise the person would pay so muhc.

The price to express freely once emotions, love, and orientation is very high, although in our post-modern times, things seem to be improving.

34Booksloth
Edited: Mar 6, 2010, 6:38am

So lovely to find a thread full of people who appreciate this amazing writer. I love The Sea, The Sea too but my all-time favourite is still The Bell which was my first IM book and was also beautifully televised back in the 1980s (I think). I'm not going to go into detail over why I love those so much as others have done that very capably for me but I also wanted to put in a vote for The Sandcastle, of which I'm also very fond. Actually, I don't think there are usually really precise reasons for why I like a particular book by Murdoch (in The Sandcastle it is just a particular scene by a pool that keeps haunting me) because they really all come down to the writing for me. Her writing is so calm and measured and beautifully precise. Not a single word is superfluous and every word says exactly what she wanted it to say - neither more nor less. I get very annoyed with myself (especially just lately) when I can't stop myself reading too fast with some books but Murdoch always slows me down; I find it impossible to skim or to hurry her work in any way because every single word calls out for my attention. To me, her books are for long sunny days when I have nothing better to do than sink into a book and concentrate just on that - I could never read her work while my husband is watching football on TV - she asks for, and deserves, my full attention. And every Murdoch book stands up well to rereading, so you never really run out - that is a huge plus for me as I can't bear it when a favourite writer dies and I know there is nothing new to come; with Murdoch I can just keep on enjoying the books I've already read.

Ed to correct Touchstones - I get so annoyed when The Bell comes up as Plath's The Bell Jar and The Sea, The Sea as Banville's The Sea - both much inferior books IMO.

35LyzzyBee
Mar 6, 2010, 1:14pm

Edwardii72, if you're interested in Freudian readings of IM then you MUST read A Severed Head which plays beautifully with Freud...

Let us know how you find The Sea The Sea - I and my Other Half are about to start reading it (re-reading in my case), me for my little online book group which is reading through all the books in chronological order, him because I am so widely read but still rate IM above all other novelists and he thought he ought to find out why (after 9 years together!!)

36edwardii72
Mar 6, 2010, 3:52pm

LyzzyBee

thanks for your advice; however, 30 minutes ago, I've started The Sea, The Sea, and it captured me from the begining.. looking forward to discuss it with you.

however, I'll get A Severed Head, and read it after the Sea, The Sea, then, I'll go for the Book and The brotherhood.

on the other hand, it is really great to read a good book with one's half, I wish you a great time, and an enjoyable reading.

37LyzzyBee
Mar 7, 2010, 4:27am

It's wonderful isn't it - I am on p. 80 and loving it; I have read it before a few times but reading it in the context of our big reading project is great. And OH is enjoying it too, glad we chose it as his first...

38ropie
Mar 24, 2010, 5:14am

Hi,

One of my favourites has not been mentioned: A Word Child. I just re-read it after more than a decade and was again entranced by it. For those who do not know it, it's a melodramatic romantic farcical tragedy (at least that's the best way I can describe it!) and if that sounds terrible, you should try it.

I also enjoyed The Sea, The Sea very much, though was not so moved by The Bell which I read when I was 16 and was perhaps too young to appreciate. I will try one of the others mentioned here.

39LyzzyBee
Mar 24, 2010, 9:42am

We just read A Word Child in my IM group and really enjoyed it. Especially all the London stuff and the Underground.

I think any of her works are odd to read as a teenager - I have said before, i don't know what I got out of A Severed Head at 15!! So maybe worth giving it another go...

Do let us know what other ones you read and what you think of them!

40ropie
Mar 25, 2010, 12:03pm

Hi LyzzyBee, Yes, the geography is quite satisfying, especially if you know the locations. I have bought A Severed Head after reading a few reviews here and will let you know what I think.

41Susanne18
Aug 7, 2010, 10:12pm

I read every I. Murdoch I can find in a second hand store, preferably hardback. Read about 10 of them so far. The Severed Head is really my favorite, then The Bell, then The Sea, The Sea. But perhaps I think about the characters and plot of The Sea more than any other plot.

42Susanne18
Aug 7, 2010, 10:14pm

I see some of the messages refer to The Severed Head. I think that would be difficult for a teen. My own experience with marriage and whatever prepared me to find it very funny.

43LyzzyBee
Aug 8, 2010, 4:50am

42 - yes indeed - I have NO idea what I got out of it, but I remember feeling VERY sophisticated reading about such things (the book was lent to me by my pretend grandmother, an elderly neighbour with a socialist/feminist outlook and she introduced me to so many great authors).

I've just finished re-reading The Philosopher's Pupil and can confirm that it's still my favourite! The others in my reading group have got a bit hung up on all the philosophy - but, like some of the other characters, I let it wash over me when I need to, and see it as contributing to the texture of the book.

Oh - I'm very excited as I'm going to the Iris Murdoch Society Conference in September! Just picking what sessions to attend now!

44captainsflat
Nov 19, 2010, 6:02am

Hi, I am not sure whether anyone is still reading this thread. The following is remodeled from my reading thread:
I remember a while ago reading an Iris Murdoch book, don't remember which, and I avoided Iris ever since. It left a bad taste in my mouth, and the emotion was slightly violent.
Well, this year I braved The Word Child (a violent child redeemed by words? as if i wouldn't try it) - and in the beginning I was saying: "But no, she's pretty darned good, what was I on about?" Enjoying myself immensely with her description, wordplay and sarcastic characters. (she does have very precise language, as per this thread above someone said.) But you know, I finished it and again I'm left with that bitter taste. It's just TOO MUCH, lays it on so thick, the monstrous ego of the man. The so many entanglements of everyone. It just all so selfish, melodramatic, unnecessary. Luxuriating in misery.

So I am not one to give up easily. Just what am I missing? How can we have such polar reactions? Why do I feel like she gives me the world and then pulls the rug out from under me? I headed to this thread to see why people like her, but perhaps someone could suggest some sites/further reading? I really do want to get to the bottom of this.

45wehr18
Aug 13, 2011, 4:08pm

I agree that The Word Child was disturbing because the protagonist was so obnoxious, it was hard to have sympathy for him (were we supposed to? how could those other women make fools out of themselves for such a jerk?). This led to a tarnishing of I.M. in my eyes and I began to see a pattern of male protagonists who are too flawed. I wondered if they represent a "class" of society that allows this behavior?

46Booksloth
Aug 14, 2011, 6:21am

#44 I love Iris. Faves are The Bell and The Sea, the Sea but, as far as her other books are concerned, I have real trouble remembering which was which and what happened and I finally have to confess it is just her writing that I love, while the plots often confuse and lose me. I find very few of her characters particularly sympathetic and I can really understand people disliking her work but every time I feel in need of some lovey prose I find myself gravitating back to her books.

47Tanyabennett
Dec 12, 2011, 8:21am

I love Iris Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea, as well. I love the descriptions of Charles Arrowby's early life at Shruff End, gathering smooth stones, swimming in the sea, and eating-for-one (enjoying every bite). The ghostly aspects of Shruff End are compelling to me also, as are Charles's efforts to understand his own obsessions (even while he's engaging in them). I've ordered The Book and the Brotherhood and hope to be reading it soon.

48LizzieD
Dec 6, 2012, 11:07am

Curiously enough, The Sea, the Sea is my least favorite of the IMs that I have read. It's stupid of me to say so though since it's been a good twenty years since I was really reading her. I read A Word Child and Henry and Cato within the last ten years and enjoyed them both a lot. I just put in my hand and pulled out The Time of the Angels. I don't know that it will be a favorite, but I'm liking it, of course. For favorite I'd have to nominate Nuns and Soldiers or The Book and the Brotherhood or The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, or, or, or, or.... Time to reread for sure!

49ropie
Edited: Sep 9, 2013, 5:59pm

Since last coming to this thread I read A Severed Head and really enjoyed it for those few days I was with it, but forgot it quite quickly. Last year I re-read The Bell and found a new enthusiasm for it; it's a beautifully written book, though less testing and a little lighter than my absolute favourites. On the shelf to be picked up as soon as I'm out of my current crop of SF is The Black Prince.

50sibylline
Sep 10, 2013, 11:06am

I think I have the BP around - this month I'm on The Book and the Brotherhood and I have made a thread...... but haven't posted yet.......

51LizzieD
Dec 14, 2013, 10:57pm

And here I am back a year from my last post to say that The Philosopher's Pupil is hands down my favorite Murdoch! I still need to reread Nuns and Soldiers, and I hope that will happen soon in 2014!

52ropie
Edited: Apr 15, 2015, 8:39am

Hello again! Since last posting here I've read The Italian Girl, which didn't really grab me in any way (which is unusual for a Murdoch) and may be my least favourite so far, and The Sandcastle, which was one of my favourite reads of last year. Now I'm starting Flight From the Enchanter which has an aged feel so far but seems as if it might be fun. I still didn't pick up The Black Prince for some reason, but still have it in the pile!

I'll have to pick up a copy of The Philosopher's Pupil too, by the sounds of it ;)

I also read the quite brilliant The Magus by John Fowles last year and wanted to point out that I saw many similarities between this novel and some of Iris Murdoch's work. I wonder who was influencing who (if at all)?

53KarenFrank
Edited: Apr 16, 2015, 2:58am

It's strange isn't it how we can have such different reactions? The Italian Girl is one of my favourites. The descriptions of the house, the relationship with the housekeeper and its volte face and the 'hauntings' by the girl on the lawn are tremendous.
Part of the reason I love IM is her wonderful descriptive powers.

54NiborB
Jun 20, 2015, 1:19pm

Hello. I stumbled upon this “talk” and it instantly made me want to join Library Thing. I am so happy to discover enthusiastic Iris Murdoch readers. (I know absolutely no one personally who reads her or even knows about her.) I find her themes to be very thought-provoking and her language kind of bubbles in my brain even when I am not reading one of her books. Since making a list seems to be the thing, I will begin by saying that my favorite of her novels is, The Sea, The Sea. (I am not a big fan of the title though!) My second favorite is, A Word Child, (a strange and powerful novel, IMHO). The other three I have read so far, are: Good Apprentice (interesting, but somewhat rambling), The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (Monty is the most interesting character), Under the Net (brilliant, funny, if a bit contrived). Even the lesser novels contain long, beautiful and interesting passages, so I do not want to minimize any of them. I am currently reading the Philosopher’s Pupil. I think it unlikely to supplant The Sea, Ditto, as my top IM novel, but... We Shall See, We Shall See.

This thread extends back to 2007! I hope it remains active so that I will be able to take part in the conversation going forward into the future. Thank you, all.

55sibylline
Aug 17, 2015, 10:42pm

Belated hello NiborB. I hope you saw that there are threads for each novel? At least - each novel someone has read and made a thread for. . . I'm presently on an IM sabbatical, for no particular reason, and plan to get back to reading her work in the fall.

56LyzzyBee
Aug 18, 2015, 3:30am

Hello NiborB. If you're on Facebook, you might like to look for the Iris Murdoch Appreciation group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2213699051/ which you can request to join - there are many of us over there! I wonder if Philosopher's Pupil will become your new favourite - it's one of mine. How many of them have you read in total?

57NiborB
Aug 19, 2015, 3:17am

Hello Lyzzy and sibyx, I am not at all sure what I am doing. By typing here I may be posting on this "Talk," or possibly on your personal message board? I just have not had time to figure this out. Hopefully in a few days...

I did not particularly like The Philosopher's Pupil. It has never been a requirement of mine to like all the characters in a novel in order to enjoy it. That said, I pretty much hated all of the people in Ennistone. You have to agree that George is awful from the first time he opens his mouth. He is not only abusive and narcissistic but continually whines and feels sorry for himself. I kept wondering for many pages if he was a minor or major figure. Even very late into the book, I considered that perhaps, Father Bernard was really the “Philosopher's Pupil” referred to in the title. I believe that the conversation between the priest and John Robert was far more interesting than any of the exchanges between John Robert and George. The Philosopher himself, turned out to be a big self-aggrandizing molester who in death was described as looking like a flabby fleshy Darth Vader sort of thing. He was apparently quite obsessed with moral systems while behaving as a bully to everyone he came into contact with. The McCaffery Family had very little charm. Stella’s behavior after being nearly killed and then continually abused by her husband was incomprehensible. Tom had a big role, but his “goody-goody” personality was tiring. The big party at Slipper House, after much build up, was extremely tame. It climaxed in a dispersal by hi-pitched singing. I dunno. I scratched my head a lot in this book. I found the opening history of Ennistone to be slow going indeed. The gypsy angle never seemed to amount to anything. I think I’m making it sound a lot worse that it was. I did enjoy certain scenes. Pearl’s speech to JR as he took Hattie away got my attention. In fact, I think Pearl was my favorite character along with the heretic Priest. (But how could Pearl be in love with John Robert?) I found the almost-omniscient narrator, “N” to be a bit snooty. Honestly, how could anyone who felt regard for Stella, not have called the cops on George? (I know, I know that would have caused the book to stall, but how can you condone it?)

I suppose you could say, The Philosopher’s Pupil was not intended to be realistic. It is symbolic and magical perhaps. It is a morality play... It is an exercise in proving the uselessness of philosophy. It is also very long.

Which IM books have I read so far? They are, from my favorite to least-favorite: The Sea, the Sea, A Word Child, The Green Knight, The Good Apprentice, Under the Net, The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, The Philosopher’s Pupil. I may read the Book and the Brotherhood next, as I seem to be gravitating to her later works. I look forward to reading many of your future comments on this “Talk,” if in fact I am really posting here (!)

58LyzzyBee
Aug 19, 2015, 7:01am

Yes, you are posting in the talk that everyone can see - the right place. I love "The Book and the Brotherhood", although there are some pretty horrible characters in it! I do love "A Word Child" and I also very much like, "The Green Knight", although that is very much a fable. Oh, and "A Severed Head" is hilarious. Happy reading!

59sibylline
Edited: Aug 19, 2015, 9:32am

NiborB - you are posting on the 'thread' 'What is your favourite... etc." in the Iris Murdoch Readers. If you click on the blue header of that same name at the top it will take you to all the threads and you can browse around. Click on our purple names and you can look at our own collections and libraries other groups we participate in and anything else we've made public. You can also write to the individual on that home page.

The Sea, the Sea was my first IM and I almost can't say why I kept on reading her work except that I was determined I would. The Bell came next and I loved it and haven't looked back since. The Severed Head was a bit too glittery and contrived for me, but amusing. I haven't read The Philosopher's Pupil yet. Another that I loved was The Sandcastle and I was also very taken up with The individual book threads have comments as I am reading, and I'm always hoping others will add their own as they or read or make new threads for any books I haven't yet gotten to.

I've also read The Nice and the Good, An Unofficial Rose, The Good Apprentice, The Book and the Brotherhood, and Message to the Planet, The Green Knight.

I very much liked The Good Apprentice and The Green Knight. I like the novels with children in them - the contrast between genuine innocence of a child and the dangerous innocence of the adult (Iris does seem to come down definitively on that point, the dangerousness of prolonged, willful innocence - can lead to permitting, allowing, condoning, etc. great evil. Message to the Planet was one of the darker books, but is really sticking with me!

Basically each book, it seems to me, turns on some aspect of the many ways people can be swept towards good and evil behaviour and outcomes. Such a sure touch! She amazes me more and more with every book I read. The sea is almost always present and is a sort of obvious uber metaphor I guess for the fact that in many ways humans are in the grip of something so much bigger than themselves that it is a wonder we do as well as we do. I love her houses too, I just treasure them!

I'm thrilled you've turned up, by the way, to get me thinking in a Murdochian direction again.

60NiborB
Edited: Aug 20, 2015, 12:10am

I came to look at this again thinking I was too harsh yesterday about the Philosopher's Pupil. I want to add that, like all of her work, it is filled with some wonderful language. I think the reason I’m reading these books at all, is that I so much like Murdoch’s language. She manages to be eloquent and, at the same time, carry a loose, casual line. I get the feeling that she wrote without effort. The language blooms and fades and blooms again. My copies are filled with marked passages.

61EBT1002
Edited: Aug 20, 2015, 12:01pm

>59 sibylline: Thank you for that summary of her themes, as you see them, and the things about her novels that you love, Lucy. I'm about 3/4 through The Sea, the Sea, my first Murdoch, and I'm loving it but unsure exactly why. I love the house and the wild, arrogant sea (I love her personification of the sea). The characters are interesting and seriously flawed. Murdoch's language, the writing itself, is exquisite.

62lauralkeet
Edited: Aug 20, 2015, 2:49pm

>61 EBT1002: I'm loving it but unsure exactly why.
That's how I feel about her, too.

I started A Word Child a couple of weeks ago and set it aside, not sure what I thought of it. This thread is motivating me to pick it up again.

63sibylline
Edited: Aug 21, 2015, 12:18pm

62> Laura - There is a thread for A Word Child, presently dormant, but I would love it if you would write about stopping and starting or anything else that comes to mind. IM can be very maddening while simultaneously being brilliant and beguiling.

Water is huge in her work. And houses. I'm so happy to see you all over here! There is a good long thread for TS,TS, Ellen.

We have LyzzyBee here too, a resident expert who even goes to IM conferences and writes papers on IM! TS,TS

Here is the link to A Word Child

64lauralkeet
Aug 21, 2015, 3:16pm

>63 sibylline: Thanks for the link, Lucy. I've starred the thread so I can return to it with comments.

65ropie
Feb 27, 2018, 2:29pm

I recently read The Black Prince and would have to put it up there with my favourite books of all time. The skill Murdoch shows in creating minute complexities in what is on the face of it a fairly simple plot and also a book within a book is staggering.

66nigeyb
Apr 17, 2018, 10:51am

Great thread - thanks. I'm currently reading 'The Bell', my first book by Iris Murdoch. Most enjoyable. So I am curious about other books by her. Thanks again.

67LyzzyBee
Apr 19, 2018, 3:36am

>66 nigeyb: That's a great one to start with, and I'm glad you're enjoying it!