Posts Tagged ‘murdoch a month’

From the back cover The wicked dreams of an American draft dodger: Ludwig was in London having the time of his young life. He was engaged to a girl he adored and had just been given the job of his heart's desire. It was all perfect. Untill the draft notice reached him.
I found this to be an excellent Iris Murdoch novel. Big complex ideas, typical cast of Murdochian  characters all of whom are somehow connected to the others. This is actually a very readable, even gripping read.  Many of Murdochs usual themes are present, although toned down a  bit, from her earlier novels. Overall very enjoyable, although there were a couple of characters who irritated me. I will be discussing this further with my fellow Murdoch readers soon. But this is one of the ones I'm keeping.

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Rupert and Hilda are perfectly matched. Their only worries are a drop-out son and Morgan, Hilda's unstable sister, just back from America. Enter Julius, Morgan's ex-lover, determined to give Rupert and Hilda's seemingly impregnable marriage a mild jolt. He finds an unexpectedly spirited opponent in Morgan's husband Tallis….. This is a tale of the struggle between two demonic beings, one good, one evil. The evil one wins, but the defeat of the good is a fairly honourable one…… The latest read for those us reading and discussing Iris Murdoch, now only every other month.  I won't say too much about it here though. Suffice to say it is a very compelling, dark story, which I enjoyed a great deal. Earlier in the week I was really tired, and so my reading was slow, and I felt I wasn't moving forward with it. But once I was into it properly, and not so darn tired,  I  could hardly put it down.  There was one character whose head I wanted to rip off so I could jump up and down on it, but maybe that made it all the more compelling.

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Oh my I did enjoy this lovely, touching memoir. A wonderful picture of a remarkable relationship. John Bayley is obviously the person who knew Iris Murdoch best – and I found this book to be such a lovely affectionate and truthful account of their lives together. There are times when I couldn't help but smile at their small funny little ways – their love of swimming and water (no wonder there is so much in IM's novels) their rather cluttered, and dare I say grubby houses, their own made up words that became so much a part of their langauge. Iris Murdoch's descent into Alzheimer's is told by the man who had to live with it, and it is beautifully and touchingly told. I must say the image of Iris Murdoch and John Bayley settling down at 10.00 o'clock every morning to watch teletubbies is a sad one indeed. The last section of the book is very poignant and I did have a very little tear in my eye as I finished it.
As we are now only reading a Murdoch every other month this sort of fill this months Murdoch gap a bit – and has possibly helped me understand a little more about her work.  I'll offer this to fellow Murdoch a monthians – Gilland Audrey first but if neither of them want it, it will be AVL.

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Bruno, dying, obsessed with spiders and preoccupied with death and reconciliation, lies at the centre of an intricate spider's web of relationships and passions. Including creepy Nigel the nurse and his besotted twin Will, fighter of duels. I enjoyed this novel, which I found got increasingly bizarre as it went on, but then I am getting used to that. I won't say too much here as of course i will be discussing it further with my fellow murdoch a month participants, although I believe it is to be a Murdoch every other month from now on.  There are plenty of typical Murdoch themes here, and some wonderfully strange characters, I really liked poor old Bruno though.

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A novel originally published in 1968, revolving around a happily married couple and telling of a violent death, blackmail, suspected espionage, Black Arts, stress and terror, over which love conquers all

I had a strange relationship with this novel, but that had more to do with my mood than the novel itself. There is plenty that is typically Murdoch in this one, peculiar relationships, the sea, goodness and enchantment being just some examples. I really enjoyed the mystery surrounding the suicide that the novel opens with.

I won’t say anymore because I will be discussing it with Liz Gill and Audrey – but overall really enjoyed it – just wish my lethergy hadn’t nearly spoilt it for me.

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It is Murdoch a month time again – doesn’t it come around quickly.

Carel is rector of a non-existent City church (it was destroyed in the war). In the rectory live his daughter, Muriel, his beautiful invalid ward, Elizabeth, and their West Indian servant, Patti. Here too are Eugene, a Russian emigre, and his delinquent son, Leo. Carel’s brother, Marcus, co-guardian with him of Elizabeth, tries to make contact with Carel but is constantly rebuffed. These seven characters go through a dance of attraction and repulsion, misunderstanding and revelation, the centre of which is the enigmatic Carel himself – a priest who believes that, God being dead, His angels are released. At the end, Muriel finds herself with the power of life and death over her father.

At the tail end of a bust tiring week I did find this a little bit hard to get into, but that was more to do with me than the book. Overall I did enjoy this novel, despite it’s quite unpleasent themes. Murdoch’s usual themes don’t jump out and smack you in the face quite as much as in earlier novels – but they are ever present, as are, some similarities to previous works. I must say I loved the characters of Eugene and Patti, and their stories were by far my favourite.

I will leave saying anything else for discussion with my fellow Murdoch-a-monthians.

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The scene is Dublin in 1916. As rebellion looms, tension mounts in the sombre, rain-soaked Dublin streets. A single Anglo-Irish family provides the diverse characters: Pat Dumay, a Catholic and an Irish patriot; his pious mother pursuing her private war with his step-father; Pat’s English-Protestant cousin Andrew Chase-White, an officer in King Edward’s Horse and Frances, the girl he loves. Weaving between them all moves Millie Kinnard – fast, feminist, and only just respectable.

I thouroughly enjoyed this novel. In some ways it is typical Murdoch with a family whose relationships to one another are complex and unorthodox – each of them anamored of someone unavailable or unsuitable. The back drop however of this novel is the 1916 Easter uprising – Dublin. The novel is both fast paced page turner, and a taut atmospheric drama. IM has the “Irish voice” just right. Loved it!!

Plenty to discuss with my fellow murochamonthians – but I was so busy reading I forgot to make notes : ( oh I am so crap.

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August’s Murdoch book.

Amazon Editorial Review:

Edmund has escaped from his family into a lonely life. Returning for his mother’s funeral he rediscovers the eternal family servant, the ever-changing Italian girl, who was always “a second mother.”

This Iris Murdoch novel reminds me a little of An Unofficial Rose (June’s Murdoch a month book) and also The Unicorn (July’s Mudoch a month book) although I preferred it to The Unicorn. An odd collection of rather unhappy people, all enchanted in someway with one of the other people – a large house near water -all very Murdoch infact. There will be plenty to discuss I am sure with my fellow Murdoch a monthians.

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Yes it’s that time of the month again : )

From the back of the book:
“When Marian Taylor takes a post as governess at Gaze Castle, a remote house upon a beautiful but desolate coast, she finds herself confronted with anumber of weird mysteries and involved in a drama she nly partly understands…”

This was number 7 in the Murdoch a month challenge. I would say it’s certainly not my favourite, I found this novel to be really quite bizarre. There are many of the usual Murdoch themes here, although somewhat harder to pick out than in earlier novels. I also thought that the dream like quality which is present in other novels is more extreme in this one – the whole world of Gaze castle and Riders, seems to be a world which exsists outside of the real world. I will be discussing this in more depth with my fellow murdoch a monthians and I will be very interested to hear what they think. For me though overall – I found this a deeply depressing book. Iris Murdoch’s writing as ever though, is great, and fascinating, and will give us loads to talk about.

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Amazon Editorial Review:
From the elderly widower, Hugh, to his granddaughter, Miranda, the nine characters in this novel are all looking for love; and so closely is the web woven that the actions and passions of each are constantly affecting the others.

I don’t want to say too much about this latest Murdoch read – we are now on to our sixth of 26 – as of course I will be discussing this with Audrey, Liz and Gill when they have all finished too.
(And yes I cheated by starting it on Saturday the 31st May – but didn’t read much that day for various reasons)

But I will say I thoroughly enjoyed this novel – the characters are complex and their romantic entanglements rather sad – each character impacts upon the others in this tale about love. Ann passivity is tedious and agravating while her daughter Miranda is marvelously strange.

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