A Word Child by Iris Murdoch

 

A Word Child by Iris Murdoch

“This is Iris Murdoch’s 17th novel — almost one-a-year since “Under the Net” — and it raises the old bewildering questions about her status as a writer. Anything she sets her hand to seems distinctive: you could not possibly confuse her with any other novelist. But take all the separate volumes, set them alongside each other, and they do not look strikingly individual.” So says David Bromwich in the New York Times in 1975. Compared to “The Bell” or “The Black Prince” or even “The Sea, the Sea”, this novel seems a poor relation, but a relation nonetheless; however, all of her books are rather close relations, which raises the question: why ever read another Iris Murdoch Novel? I’m not sure if I will. Bromwich goes on to say that “it has to be admitted Murdoch is among the very few contemporary novelists who go on troubling one’s thoughts when the last page is done.” I can’t say I agree with this. In 1975 Roth, Bellow and Amis were turning out novels: look to them if you want your thoughts at all troubled.

Mr A

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