The Time of the Angels
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The Time of the Angels

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  294 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Carel is rector of a City church that 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 tries to make contact with Carel but is constantly rebuffed. These seven characters go through a dance of...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by Penguin Books (first published 1966)
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Bryn Hammond
This, I swear, was heavily influenced by Dostoyevsky -- no bad thing in my book, although I spent the novel distracted by Dostoyevsky-spotting. Also my first Iris Murdoch. Not one of her majors I imagine.

Iris Murdoch writes well. She digs into the human soul and creates striking characters. This novel “Time of the Angels” focuses on a rector who lost his belief and question the good and the bad, to believe, not to believe and wishing to believe, morality and immorality as well as his complicated relationships with other people and incest theme. His discussions on morality and God with his brother Marcus are the significant parts of the book. Carel draws attention to the irrelevance between belie...more
Constance A. Dunn
Mar 29, 2014 Constance A. Dunn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those struggling with their faith.
Murdoch is clever no doubt, but there was most definitely something that was….how should I say this? Either too much, or too little. First of all, the symbolism and subject matter is engaging: religion, faith, sexuality, love, a pressure cooker of supressed desire, it's all there. However, so are phrases like "almost inaudibly," "almost imperceptibly," "almost ….etc." So I can best say that I almost liked the read.
In the end I had style issues with the novel rather than plot issues, but I still...more
This is the 10th of Murdoch's 26 novels, from 1966, though it seems to be set in a London of at least a decade earlier, amid coal smog and unreconstructed half-bombed buildings. One of the latter, the remnants of a church with a house for the rector's family but no place for any parishioners to gather, has proved to be a good place for the local bishop to warehouse an eccentric, verging on rogue, priest, along with his young female relatives (daughter and niece), his mulatto household servant (w...more
This is the 1978 edition by Triad/Panther Books. The cover shows a detail from a painting of Chloe Boughton_Leigh c. 1907. by Gwen John (Tate Gallery, London).
I read the book on the plane. Rather disturbed by it. The plot as usual explores the theme of the existence of God, faith, human conditions, love. Yet the story diverges from Iris Murdoch’s usual. It weaves around Carel, a pastor who had lost his faith. Carel very rarely appeared in the book but his presence was much felt and talked about in every scene. Carel exerted some form of emotional and psychological hold on the characters. Muriel, Elizabeth, his daughters, Pattie, his housekeeper and Ma...more
Jul 22, 2012 Jo rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: england
Very strange novel featuring an Anglican priest who doesn't believe in God, and who is vicar of a church that has been destroyed in the war and no longer exists. Symbolic or what. Around him flutter several disturbed and strange characters - his daughter, his ward, his servant, a Russian emigre, his brother and a couple of do-gooding women.

Lots of chat about the existence or otherwise of God, and what it is to be good, etc.

Nobody in the book is anybody you'd ever want to spend time with - even...more
Set in a vicarage - without a church. A reclusive priest of dubious faith and immoral habits, his 24-ish daughter, creepy "disabled" 19 year old niece, mixed race orphaned housekeeper, Polish handyman and the handyman's rebellious 20-ish son. Each chapter focuses on a different character/relationship. Incredibly vivid and chapter 9 has an excellent and prescient parody of politically correct Anglican waffle about the nature of faith and accepting people regardless etc. The literal and metaphoric...more
Some readers will probably think Murdoch's prose a bit dated in style now, but the plots and character are superb. I love almost every novel of hers that I've read but they require a lot from the reader if you want to enjoy them fully - details and nuances of psychology and character are subtle and need thinking about. The character of Patty is particularly finely drawn in this book. It's one I've read several times over the years, not one of her better known books perhaps, but I keep being draw...more
Joanna Conrad
Excellent book. Difficult ending. Strangely atmospheric. Would make an excellent anime/manga.
This was so different to other Murdochs - the usual elements were there; religion, philosophy, London and the Thames - but it was told largely from the standpoint of the poor downtrodden servants, as opposed to the idle rich that they serve. A refreshing change! And an eerie, gothic tale - but for me, totally convincing, totally mesmerising. I was spellbound the whole way though.
The philosophical questions this book wrestles with are key--what is good, and how can we be good or even conceive of morality in a world without god? But the characters, as in many Murdoch novels, seemed merely in the service of her philosophical agenda and did not have a life of their own. I couldn't believe that these characters could exist outside of a Murdoch allegory.
I love Murdoch, but this novel is extremely odd. I remember lifting my head every now and then to tell anyone in the vicinity that I was beginning to get rather upset by all of the goings on. It is, however, an engaging novel, and very distinct from the others I've read by her; although mostly this is because it is less amusing, I would recommend it none-the-less.
First rate Murdoch
Lauren Albert
I can't seem to recapture what enthralled me about Murdoch's novels when I was much younger--perhaps the fatalism which depresses me now came across as simply romantic to someone at the age to believe they there is all hope still laying ahead of them? But I still enjoy the characterizations and the philosophical side of her fiction writing.
Hardly a typical Iris Murdoch novel, but brilliant nonetheless - full of ambiguities, with a murky, dark aftertaste. This is probably the most pessimistic of Murdoch's novels that I have read so far, with less of the lightheartedness that would normally detract from the dismal fates of the main characters.
a very dark but gripping story filled with the most grotesque collection of characters I have ever met in a work of serious fiction. A mix of madness, incest, and religious philosophy. She creates a world of her own, and, though not really believable, it kept me turning pages.
Persephone Abbott
Most tidy and entertaining as usual, read in a gulp over two days, very enjoyable and yet...not her absolute best simply because the story is a little too transparent.
Missing the comedy of many of her books this is still a compelling, often disturbing, read. The denouement is very thought provoking.
A wonderful psychological portrait of some very unique characters!
Przemek Raczynski
I would like to read more by this author.
Nancy marked it as to-read
Jul 25, 2014
Shaunessy Mckay
Shaunessy Mckay marked it as to-read
Jul 15, 2014
Don marked it as to-read
Jul 14, 2014
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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
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