A Fairly Honourable Defeat
In this dark comedy of errors, Julius, a cynical intellectual, decides to demonstrate through a Machiavellian experiment how easily loving couples, caring friends, and devoted siblings can betray their loyalties.
"Hilda and Rupert Foster, celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary with a bottle of rather dry champagne, were sitting in the evening sun in the garden of their house in Priory Grove, London. S.W.10. Hilda, a plumper angel now, reclined limply, exhibiting shiny burnished knees below a short shrift dress of orangey yellow. Her feet were bare. Her undulating dark hair...more
Murdoch has masterfully woven philosophical elements into this dark comedy, highlighting human...more
For many years, it was the only Murdoch book I'd read, but over the past five years I've picked up others and that altered my reading experience this time. I still felt the chilly dread of what the characters were going to encounter next, but I was also hit over the head with Murdoch's...more
Of course the novel is exceptionally well written and the language she uses is rich and her dialogues sparkle with life. The characters are a tawdry lot: I could not find it in my heart to like one of them, except perhaps Hilda. Still, the harm that was done to them rattled me and leaves me feeling like it actually happened to me. That's the...more
I've decided that, with Iris Murdoch, I know I’m going to love it when a) it is set in London and / or b) I have to write my own list of characters inside the front cover to keep a track of everyone.
"'Your letters were...more
Things are intertwined from the start, but later there are strong echoes of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream when the stage is set for a (non magical) enchantment, leading to illusions of l...more
But I did get bogged down in parts - couldnt take all the "darlings" and italics being thrown about. Do Brit men really talk like that? And some of the detours she took seemed very irrelevant—while I normally enjoy such interruptions in the story...more
«Супруги красиво смотрелись вместе. Всегда готовые помочь другим, они и себе не отказывали в тратах на удовольствия. Последним, все еще ощущаемым как новинка, приобретением был не...more
The characters in this book aren't likeable. We have Robert and his wife Hilda, Robert's brother Simon and Simon's partner and Robert's old f...more
O Julius! I swoon each time you diagnose humanity as being filled with self serving illusions! I adore Iris' manner of describing you with Elizabethan (that's Taylor not some useless queen) Violet eyes that gleam with irrepressible delight. (well I'm mashing things together but that's my privilege. She is dead.)
As usual Lady Iris...more
There are many levels to Murdoch's work, and like Dostoevsky, philosophy is just one of them. She...more
Murdoch can lean towards the schematic in her dialogue from time to time, but even so, the ethical drive of the novel steers clear of esoteric theories and philosophical abstractions.
Love is the irrational that we...more
However, I think the idea of a wife loving her friend as much...more
Irish-born British writer, university lecturer and prolific and highly professional novelist, Iris Murdoch dealt with everyday ethical or moral issues, sometimes in the light of myths. As a writer, she was a perfectionist who did not allow editors to change her text. Murdoch produced 26 novels in 40 years, the last written while she was suffering from Alzheimer disease.