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The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch
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The Green Knight (1993)

by Iris Murdoch

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6311215,382 (3.87)1 / 38
  1. 20
    The Bell by Iris Murdoch (hiltonsister)
    hiltonsister: Murdoch's sweetest, most entertaining and satisfying story. The ancient mystical element supports a sexy, amusing, contempory mystery plot. Despite the medieval religious framework, this is one of her most accessible works, the one I recommend to first-timers.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
My first attempt at a Murdoch novel. It is compelling, complex and absorbs one so much that I couldn't put it down. ( )
  ivanfranko | May 3, 2016 |
When Lucas Graffe attempts (with what serious intent is never made clear) to murder Clement Graffe, the natural son of Lucas's adoptive parents, a stranger intervenes, only to be struck down by Lucas and presumed dead. However, the stranger surfaces very much alive some months alive and comes to play an important role in the lives of the Graffes and their social circle, particularly Louise Anderson and her three daughters and Bellamy James, a would-be monk.

I found it difficult to follow who was who at the beginning of the book. As the story progressed, although the characters, their actions, thoughts, and emotions were meticulously described, and the symbolism and echoes of the Bible, myths and legends became more and more apparent, nevertheless I found the book had no emotional resonance for me. I kept going on a sort of "I've started so I'll finish" principle, but couldn't really see any point to the strange behaviour of these people. When the miraculous events seem more probable and realistic than the everyday scenes, then the author is in trouble.
  Robertgreaves | May 15, 2015 |
"And he thought, I shall go on blindly and secretly jumbling all these things together and making no sense of them as long as I live. Maybe every human creature carries some such inescapable burden. That is being human. A very weird affair."
I saw Iris Murdoch's debut novel on the Modern Library 100 list but ultimately read this later work because it seemed more relevant to my interests. And so it was: a subtle study of the intersection of madness and mysticism, woven into a sometimes-funny magically real yarn about a traditionally non-traditional extended family in London. ( )
  lawrenh | Oct 27, 2014 |
"And he thought, I shall go on blindly and secretly jumbling all these things together and making no sense of them as long as I live. Maybe every human creature carries some such inescapable burden. That is being human. A very weird affair."
I saw Iris Murdoch's debut novel on the Modern Library 100 list but ultimately read this later work because it seemed more relevant to my interests. And so it was: a subtle study of the intersection of madness and mysticism, woven into a sometimes-funny magically real yarn about a traditionally non-traditional extended family in London. ( )
  lawrenh | Oct 27, 2014 |
After a year and some ten or so novels of IM's ouevre, certain patterns, themes, plot twists, settings have, by now, come to be expected and indeed cherished. A close knit group of people are disturbed, usually by the intrusion of a new person, but sometimes by a violent event (in this case both), and during the upheaval, people 'act out of character' - (or is it more IN character?), secrets are revealed (or not revealed but guessed at), the numinous is hinted at, the ending is usually satisfactory as in the comedic meaning of the word where the right people usually end up together and those who die, must die. Dogs and cats if missing, are found. Most of the action takes place indoors with the exception of wild country settings which are almost always close to the sea (although not always). The houses in which the stories take place are always interesting and always meticulously described with Nabokovian particularity and these houses and flats, grand or grubby, have characters of their own which influence outcomes too. Murdoch also always stops to tell you what people are wearing (always so much nicer than anything I ever wear, even in this novel which dates from the early 90's just before her Alzheimer's began incapacitating her). Everything matters, everything in the universe is slightly animate, not just the obviously living: dogs, people, spiders, and plants, but the things we consider inanimate: cars, houses, rocks, even walking canes. And everything lives in relation to everything else and the longer they have rubbed together the more connected they are if for no other reason than proximity. This novel features an attempted fratricide, the intervention of a man who returns from the dead, three young women on the verge of adulthood, their mother who is a widow, a young man who has badly broken his foot and feels his life is ruined..... they are all related or part of a social group that has more or less simply happened and, in the nature of things, become connected through simply hanging about together so long. This novel, I think considered the last fully coherent one, has an odd edge to it, and I wonder if Iris was feeling the slippage.... there is no bitterness, only a feeling of impending loss, hard to explain, perhaps it is embedded in the imagery of the title [The Green Knight] a valiant young man meeting his inevitable destiny with bravery. Oh Iris, you were wise and strange and wonderful! I am greatly enjoying reading your work and thank you for it. **** ( )
  sibyx | May 12, 2014 |
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Edowi Victorowi
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- Pewnego razu były sobie trzy małe dziewczynki...
'Once upon a time there were three little girls - '
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In a small circle of friends in London, some disturbing occurrences are taking place: Lucas Graffe, a reclusive academic, kills a man in self-defense, and disappeara immediately after the trail, leaving his brother, the charismatic actor Clement Graffe, tortured by his absence. Their friend Bellamy James rids himself of all ties and possessions, even giving away his beloved dog. Yearning for simplicity and purification, he prepares himself for a monastic life. And outside Clifton, the house where the widowed Louise Anderson lives with her three daughters, a very peculiar man is watching.… (more)

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