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The Black Prince

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  3,113 Ratings  ·  241 Reviews
Bradley Pearson, an unsuccessful novelist in his late fifties, has finally left his dull office job as an Inspector of Taxes. Bradley hopes to retire to the country, but predatory friends and relations dash his hopes of a peaceful retirement. He is tormented by his melancholic sister, who has decided to come live with him; his ex-wife, who has infuriating hopes of redeemin ...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published March 25th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1973)
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Nickolas the Kid
Ο Μπράντλι Πίαρσον είναι ένας συνταξιούχος εφοριακός, ο οποίος ονειρεύεται να γράψει ένα δυνατό λογοτεχνικό μυθιστόρημα σχετικό με την αλήθεια. Ένα πραγματικό λογοτεχνικό αριστούργημα. Γύρω του διάφοροι χαρακτήρες… Φθαρμένοι κυρίως από τον συζυγικό βίο…
Η ψυχολογικά διαταραγμένη αδελφή του, η πρώην γοητευτική συζυγός του, ο κολλητός του φίλος ο συγγραφέας, ο κάπως ιδιόμορφος κουνιάδος του, ο κύριος Λοξίας… Και μέσα σε όλες αυτές τις καρικατούρες, και το σκοτεινό αντικείμενο του πόθου, η άφθαρτη

The term "unreliable narrator" is a popular one in literature. As are "creativity", "art", and "great", words whose definitions are thrown around so quickly that the mind can hardly fix on one before another, more "truthful" one is sailing past. As if truth had anything to do with it.

Let's start with the "unreliable" part of the first term. Unreliable how? What standard of reliability do we actually have at our disposal? The simplest answer is the book itself, an answer that quickly devolve
Paul Bryant
Apr 28, 2008 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
I read this years ago and thought it was hilarious, especially when the old prissy geezer was taking the young lovely student he was hopelessly in lurve with to the Opera and was so excited and overwhelmed by the whole inebriating ineffable scrotum-bedevilling lurve thing that he vomited all over the row in front. Which quite curtailed the passion for that evening.

I actually re-read this not that long ago and it wasn't quite so side-splitting but the vomit scene still brought forth a few chortle
Nov 30, 2008 Maureen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ben, who will either love it, or hate it, but might find it of value in either case.
Shelves: novels
once again iris murdoch makes my head explode. each time i think i'm in the wrong place when i start: everything seems so conventional and normal, even boring: so british, and calling, and tea cups and all, and then, oh then, it just sort of explodes into sparks of clarity dancing around sordidness combined with philosophy -- its meditations primarily on art, and love. i found several lengthy sections to type out, after the quote below, but cannot now bring myself to do so as the book has exhaus ...more
Assuming that The Black Prince is a fair representation of Iris Murdoch's work, I think its unlikely I'll read any more of her books.

That's not to say she's a poor author, nor is it to suggest I didn't like The Black Prince. She is a fine author, and I liked The Black Prince well enough. But my experience with this book and what that means to my future engagement with Murdoch's novels is a bit like my experience with swimming laps in the local pool without a loftier purpose: neither is worth the
Marija Simić
3,5 stars.

I just really enjoyed this book at the beginning. It's indeed an unusual one. I both, like and dislike the main character, Bradley, and overall, all characters in this book. And I am that type of a reader, who is perfectly aware of character's age, but still always picture it as a young(er), and often, I create his physical appearance, although author clearly describe it (as opposite). I don't know why I do this. And, also, I wonder, do I picture characters in books like young ones, be
May 22, 2017 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"A arte não é confortável nem falsificável. A arte conta a única verdade que em definitivo interessa. É a luz através da qual os seres humanos podem ser corrigidos. E para além da arte, permitam que vos diga, não existe nada."
— Iris Murdoch, O Príncipe Negro - Uma Celebração do Amor
Feb 10, 2009 Christin rated it did not like it
Granted, I did not pick this book, but I did blindly and eagerly consent based on the fact that I had heard of Murdoch's work and as a result of my experience with other British/Irish women novelists being so rich and rewarding, assumed I would love it. Oh, folly! Iris Murdoch is a philosopher (and a lover of Sartre, worst offender of all, if you ask me), and I generally make it a rule never to read the novels of philosophers because they know shit about character development and even less about ...more
May 05, 2011 Fiona rated it really liked it
Haven't read this in years either. Irish Murdoch was shortlisted for the Booker for this wonderful novel written in the 1970s. Hasn't dated at all. She has characters and plot on a string. Brilliant realisation of first person narrative, and a story within a story. The narrator is typically grey, British, mediocre and of the pre Thatcher era, completely out of sorts with his own and everyone's feelings and emotions, sexual or otherwise. At times bleak, mostly ironic, hugely amusing, nearly a sit ...more
Ben Loory
Dec 19, 2013 Ben Loory rated it really liked it
i loved this the same way i love every iris murdoch book. and it doesn't surprise me that this is probably her most famous book-- it's long and complex and full of great characters and all perfectly set out and cut like a diamond and overflowing with wonderful sentences and thoughts about art and life and love and all the rest. for me though it was just a little too normal. it's a book about people and the way they interact. it doesn't quite have the shimmering fantastical intensity of, say, The ...more
Kirsten *Make Margaret Atwood Fiction Again!"
Whew! I finally finished it. I wanted to score this book higher. It was an excellent book, but I wouldn't say I "really liked it" as the GR ratings go. The prose was just too dense for me to really enjoy it.

The characters, however, and the story are engaging and absorbing. At no point did I not want to finish the book. The characters were engaging though not very likable. Still, I am glad I read it.

This is going to sound odd. But it is a very wet and windy sort of book. It made me feel as I do
Mar 19, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it
A strange and convoluted tale of love... or at least, such is the way it describes itself. But it seems Iris Murdoch's real purpose with the text is to offer the reader the disorienting experience of traveling across a highly nuanced emotional terrain with a Prufrockian narrator who is attempting to be "set the record straight", and in the process creates more questions, doubts, and uncertainty.

It is a book within a book, told in the first person by the "author" of the text... and even goes a s
Feb 21, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
This book sat on my shelf for 6 months. Finally, in an attempt to clean out my house and return over-due borrowed items, I picked it up. And didn't put it down! This book covers the entire gamut of the feelings of love, from initial infatuation, the spiritual well-being of love's first throes, and the stomach-turning emotions of love's ending. All that, plus such a beautiful look at the highest purity of true ART, within writing, music, and friendship. This book is a must-read for a mature under ...more
Mar 17, 2017 Michael rated it it was amazing
Hilarious, stylish, and profound--what more do you want out of a novel? A master class in unreliable narration.
Iryna Khomchuk
Jan 25, 2017 Iryna Khomchuk rated it it was amazing
Приймаючи участь у різних книжкових флешмобах чи обмінниках, зазвичай прошу радити мені книги, які найбільше вразили інших читачів. Потім дуже цікаво порівнювати свої враження з чужими, обговорювати роман із людиною, котра побачила в ньому щось важливе, а ще — пізнати глибше не тільки себе (бо вважаю, що хороші книги допомагають нам це зробити), а й свого візаві. Найчастіше, такий обмін книгами і книговраженнями дозволяє відкрити справді щось варте уваги. Й роман "Чорний принц" виявився саме так ...more
Alex Sarll
I used to get through them fairly regularly, but it's been a while since I read any Iris Murdoch. Partly, this was the terrible deus ex machina ending to the last one I attempted; partly that I was working my way through Alms for Oblivion, which approached similar terrain in such a different spirit that I didn't want to risk their frequencies interfering. But as soon as I slipped into this, it was like coming home. The largely superfluous prefaces and narrative hedging-about whose fastidiousness ...more
Jul 23, 2016 Tamara rated it it was amazing
In my opinion this is Murdoch’s finest novel – I read many of her novels in my 20s, but none has made me contemplate love and morality in any sort of deep level as much as this book has. I could rave on about this book for hours, but I would rather rave on about how angry the introduction by Martha C. Nussbaum made me! I cannot fathom how Nussbaum can have left out so many literary allusions made in the book.
First, while she does speak of Plato’s Phaedrus – and yes, it deserves mention – more
Sep 11, 2011 Jamie rated it really liked it
very engaging and has the quality of making you see your life as being a little more sinister than before:

The natural tendency of the human soul is towards the protection of the ego. The Niagara-force of this tendency can be readily recognized by introspection, and its results are everywhere on public show. We desire to be richer, handsomer, cleverer, stronger, more adored and more apparently good than anyone else. I say 'apparently' because the average man while he covets real wealth, normally
Aug 20, 2007 Bob rated it it was amazing
Martin Amis (in his more or less essential collection "The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000") refers to this as one of her best. In it (or with it), Murdoch plunges full-scale into the realm of the Nabokovian unreliable narrator and even, I think, tips her hat directly to Lolita and Pale Fire in spots. Lots of plot developments (usually in the form of marital infidelity) tend to keep her books moving rapidly and she's not above a bit of melodrama - in some cases she gets her char ...more
Aug 19, 2011 Agnese rated it it was amazing
I guess I've never read a book like this. It's a crazy novel, but at the same time very romantic, with tense plot. Middle-aged man falls in love with his best friend`s daughter. She is about 30 years younger than he. I actually don't believe such love and I'm right. It never existed. Bradley imagined it and wrote a book about other things and relationships that never happened.
I wish the end was better. I really hoped that the love was real and it would stay true and last for a longer period of
Despair Speaking
Jun 09, 2013 Despair Speaking rated it did not like it
For books like this, it's important that the reader will sympathize, understand, or like the main character even if it's just a little. But I could not bring myself to do any of these things. I was already bored by the end of the first chapter but forced myself to continue since I was hoping it would redeem itself eventually. Unfortunately, it didn't.

And you know what? I couldn't even bring myself to care.

Honestly? I thought the death was just placed there in hopes of making things interesting,
Feb 22, 2008 Tara rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic. It uses some pretty clever literary devices, but instead of it all being the tool of some pretentious artist, it's kind of about something bigger. It's great. The scene where one of the characters flips out and falls on the floor is tremendous. Iris Murdoch has some books which are just, eh, but altogether she was a tremendous thinker who was able to translate that into her books in a way which was never stuffy. And when she does a great job, she does a a really really gr ...more
Nov 17, 2010 Manny rated it it was ok
As usual, I just can't remember a thing that happened, at least to the extent of assigning it to this rather than some other Iris Murdoch novel. Probably an insane billionaire has a scheme to destroy the world and 007 needs to infiltrate his shadowy organisation, having sex with several hot women en route and finally defusing the atomic weapon when there are only seconds left on the clock.

Wait. That was the other series, wasn't it? In that case, pretty much the same, but take out the atomic weap
'El príncipe negro' se parece muy mucho a la otra novela de Iris Murdoch que he leído, 'El mar, el mar', hasta el punto que a veces parecen dos versiones de un mismo punto de partida: un tipo bastante detestable y nada fiable como narrador, en plena pre-crisis de los 60, se empeña en vivir una historia de amor algo ridícula, mientras a su alrededor se congregan una serie de personajes que le estorban en su empeño. Se ve que no es porque todas las novelas de Murdoch se parezcan tanto, sino porque ...more
Sep 02, 2016 Arukiyomi rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1001-books
What a great read this was. I can also imagine that Murdoch had immense fun writing it too, because that comes across in the writing for too often to be coincidental.

Firstly, it messes with the structure of a novel and blurs the lines between fiction and non by initially presenting it as a kind of screen/play and then having characters comment afterwards on their impression of Bradley Pearson, the protagonist. This makes for an intriguing read as you are aware from the start that, as a novel, it
Chris Alexander
Jul 06, 2011 Chris Alexander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit it, I'm a slow reader. It probably took me well over a year to read this book. It wasn't that it was bad (in fact it was quite good), but it comes down to finding the time. Every time I would start getting into it, something would pull me away. I love the British author Iris Murdoch and it's been years since I last read one of her philosophically engaging novels. After a lot of debate, I finally settled on this one and it did not disappoint.

The book is a typical rich tapestry of characte
Max radwin
Aug 01, 2012 Max radwin rated it it was amazing
This book leaves me feeling very conflicted. Bradley Pearson has all of these ides about art and happiness and love. They seem so true and gave me new lofty perspectives and concepts to think about. The book ends abruptly and then you discover several post-scripts from the still-living characters. These post-scripts make the entire novel. They destroy the entire piece of writing by Bradley. You enter his world and accept his philosophies as true and are ready to walk away content. Then they dest ...more
Robert Mason
Jan 30, 2013 Robert Mason rated it really liked it
This is some fun metafiction, complete with unreliable narrator. It's a story about art, love, truth, narrated by a failed novelist in his fifties, and ultimately, the story of that man's attempt to write the book which we are now reading. It's amusing, insightful, and at times touching. And, as is often the case with metafiction, I imagine rereading it will prove rewarding, which is a nice quality in a book.
Aug 01, 2012 Cameron rated it it was amazing
Amazing. One of those books that you don't really know what the hell it is until about half to three-quarters of the way through. Difficult to describe, perhaps a black-comedy-meets-domestic-farce-meets-character-study-meets-thriller? At about the three-quarter point, becomes absolutely unputdownable. Murdoch is a brilliant writer.
Jun 22, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chrissie
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie (Goodreads Reader!)
Just arrived from Cairo, Egypt.

The story of Bradley Pearson who acts as the narrator and hero into this story. I cannot tell anything else in order to avoid spoil it. A GREAT book, to be read for those who like a quite original plot.
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Guardian Newspape...: October 2015 - The Black Prince 11 12 Nov 27, 2015 09:20PM  
What is your favorite novel by Iris Murdoch? 5 30 Apr 30, 2011 06:32PM  
  • Blind Man with a Pistol (Harlem Cycle, #8)
  • Sour Sweet
  • The Three Sisters
  • Bunner Sisters
  • Good Behaviour (Virago Modern Classics)
  • Manservant and Maidservant
  • Chariots of Fire
  • The Shrimp and the Anemone
  • Frost in May (Virago Modern Classics)
  • Nineteen Seventy Seven (Red Riding, #2)
  • Aaron's Rod
  • Alberta and Jacob
  • A Disaffection
  • Iris Murdoch: A Life
  • Clarissa Harlowe; or the history of a young lady - Volume 1 (of 9)
  • Fantômas (Fantômas, #1)
  • The Folding Star
  • The Good Companions
Dame Jean Iris Murdoch

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.

"She w
More about Iris Murdoch...

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“Every artist is an unhappy lover. And unhappy lovers want to tell their story.” 33 likes
“We defend ourselves with descriptions and tame the world by generalizing.” 26 likes
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