Saturday, July 11, 2009

Under the Net (by Iris Murdoch)

The first of a pile of books (mostly about princesses) that I read on vacation, and one of the books on the Time list. And the first time I've read a book by Iris Murdoch! That's a lot of firsts.

Here's another: during the first half of the book, I was mentally preparing to praise this book to the skies and insist that all of you run out and read it immediately. A terrific and convincing unreliable narrator, a surrealist-comedy-noir plot, it sucks you right in and is delightful from the beginning. But I'm not quite going to insist that you buy it. I still give it a thumbs up, don't get me wrong, but the tonal shift towards the end of the book disappointed me a little. I didn't have any problem with the ambiguity, the circular plot, or the ending, and I don't even have any problem with the tone changing, but it felt abrupt and strange to me. I can't quite put my finger on it.

That said, I would love to read more Iris Murdoch. I have a feeling she's another of those underrated female authors; this book is really terrific.

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