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AN Unofficial Rose by Iris Murdoch
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AN Unofficial Rose (original 1962; edition 1987)

by Iris Murdoch

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
437743,548 (3.56)1 / 21
"A Shakespearean comedy of misaligned lovers" set in the modern English countryside by a Man Booker Prize winner (Publishers Weekly).   Hugh Peronett's life is tinged with regret: the regret of never following his passions and losing the one woman he loved. Twenty-five years ago, he ended an affair with Emma Sands, a detective novelist who had stolen his heart, to be with his wife, Fanny. Now, Fanny is gone, and both Hugh and his grown son, Randall, find themselves at a crossroads of passion and righteousness.   As Hugh, Emma, Randall, Randall's wife, Randall's mistress, and several others are caught in a dance of romance and rejection in bucolic rural England, they will discover the true meanings of love, companionship, and desire.   From the acclaimed author of The Sea, The Sea, An Unofficial Rose is a novel of wit, sorrow and an unparalleled psychological insight.… (more)
Member:claudecat
Title:AN Unofficial Rose
Authors:Iris Murdoch
Info:Penguin Books (1987), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

An Unofficial Rose by Iris Murdoch (1962)

  1. 00
    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: In der Einleitung zu "an unofficial rose" von Anthony D. Nuttall wird Dickens als Vergleich herangezogen: "An Unofficial Rose is indeed a surprisingly Dickensian novel, crowded, superabundant."
  2. 00
    The Tempest by William Shakespeare (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: In der Einleitung zu "an unofficial rose" von Iris Murdoch schreibt Anthony D. Nuttal: "But this book is really much more Shakespearen than it is Dickensian, The Tempest, which will figure so prominently in The Sea, The Sea, is powerfully though less obtrusively operative in this earlier book."… (more)
  3. 01
    Anglo-Saxon Attitudes by Angus Wilson (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: In beiden Romanen geht es (u.a.) um Vater und Sohn: Der Vater hat auf seine große Liebe zugunsten einer konventionellen Ehe verzichtet. Nun steht der Sohn vor einer ähnlichen Situation: wie wird er sich verhalten, wie der Vater? In beiden Romanen wird der Vater seine ehemalige Geliebte wieder aufsuchen.… (more)
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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Good to see an Aussie boy come out trumps after all the characters go through the Murdoch Particle Collider and emerge confused, freer and in some cases better.

Another wonderful IM novel.
  ivanfranko | Sep 22, 2020 |
A Severed Head and The Bell were hard acts to follow, and I found this one a bit less compelling than those two. But still an excellent read mixing farce and romance. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Jun 28, 2020 |
Murdoch has nothing on Chekhov when it comes to a willingness to simply run their course in a way that does not cater in the least to the reader's desire for satisfying resolution. The character I would have taken bets on to undergo a life-altering change, Ann, even after she discovers she was played by her daughter, results in Ann simply acknowledging her mettle....or that her metal is of a very mundane sort and plodding on. The most abstract yet comprehensive observation I can arrive at is that only the characters who are outright manipulators of others seem to have the lease idea what they are about; the rest of the characters from any other perspective but their own, play roles of the unseeing bumbling their way through their own lives.
  tsgood | Feb 23, 2020 |
It is such a pleasure to be in the hands of such a brilliant prose writer. On the other hand her characters are a piece of work, every one, and mercilessly depicted, which has me liking all of them less than I probably would if I knew them or had a chance to be inside their heads. It's strange to reach the end of a book and breathe a sigh of relief at my release, yet to be stilled by the dénouement and led to reflect on a resolution that (spoiler?)seems so unsatisfactory and yet on a deeper human level, is probably not. Wonderful Murdoch. Thank you again. ( )
  thesmellofbooks | Jul 25, 2014 |
‘An Unofficial Rose’ is a family story- a very dysfunctional family. The matriarch has just died, and the day of her funeral starts the book. With Fanny dead, Hugh Peronett is now free to rekindle an old relationship with Emma. His son, Randall, wants to be free of his wife, Ann, so that he can pursue Emma’s companion, Lindsey. Hugh’s grandson by his absent daughter, Penn, is visiting for the summer, and he pursues Randall and Ann’s daughter, Miranda-and he is in turn pursued by another character. Meanwhile, members of another family also pursue various members of the Peronett family. Everyone wants someone else and there is not one simple relationship in the whole thing. This is a very flawed cast of characters; only Ann and Penn seem to be unafflicted with the urge to manipulate people that the others seem to have so strongly.
The book, written in 1962, is of course a product of its time. Ann is encouraged by the priest to stay married to Randall, even though he has deserted her for another woman, because marriage is forever and she can help Randall-even if he never comes back- by forgiving him and praying for him. A straight woman and a gay man stay together in an open marriage of convenience. It’s all right to have Randall, when asked by Lindsey what he would do if she changed her mind about having sex with him that night, say “I shall probably beat you and certainly rape you” and she accepts that rather than run screaming into the night.

In the end, the identity of the prime manipulator is a surprise. While there are some clues throughout the book, it’s still not what you expect; it must have been a bit shocking in 1962. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Apr 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
'Unkempt about those hedges blows
An English unofficial rose'


Rupert Brooke
Dedication
To Margaret Hubbard
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I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

Fanny Peronett was dead. That much her husband Hugh Peronett was certain of as he stood in the rain beside the grave  which was shortly to receive his wife's mortal remains. Further than that, Hugh's certainty did not reach. The promise meant little to him that the priest had uttered.
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"A Shakespearean comedy of misaligned lovers" set in the modern English countryside by a Man Booker Prize winner (Publishers Weekly).   Hugh Peronett's life is tinged with regret: the regret of never following his passions and losing the one woman he loved. Twenty-five years ago, he ended an affair with Emma Sands, a detective novelist who had stolen his heart, to be with his wife, Fanny. Now, Fanny is gone, and both Hugh and his grown son, Randall, find themselves at a crossroads of passion and righteousness.   As Hugh, Emma, Randall, Randall's wife, Randall's mistress, and several others are caught in a dance of romance and rejection in bucolic rural England, they will discover the true meanings of love, companionship, and desire.   From the acclaimed author of The Sea, The Sea, An Unofficial Rose is a novel of wit, sorrow and an unparalleled psychological insight.

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