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The Book and the Broth...
 
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Iris Murdoch
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The Book and the Brotherhood

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  507 ratings  ·  30 reviews
A story about love and friendship and Marxism
Many years ago Gerard Hernshaw and his friends "commissioned" one of their number to write a political book.
Time passes and opinions change. "Why should we go on supporting a book which we detest?" Rose Curtland asks. "The brotherhood of Western intellectuals versus the book of history," Jenkin Riderhood suggests. The theft of
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ebook, 624 pages
Published January 1st 1989 by Penguin Books (first published 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 998)
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Christopher Roth
I would have given this more stars, since it isn't better or worse than most other Murdoch books I've read and loved, but I think I may be burning out on her a bit. This one was just too long, and, you guessed it, it is once again about a group of layabout intellectuals in their thirties or forties in London, half of whom are bisexual and are sleeping with each other, their tangled lives swirling about a blazing-eyed, sinister, Svengali-like intellectual who has an inexplicable hold on all the c ...more
Surreysmum
[These notes were made in 1990:]. Another Murdochian phantasmagoria of character and philosophy. This one is about ... oh dear me, a dangerous way to start a sentence! The central characters in this novel (that's better) are linked by having been at one time a left-leaning group together at University. Several of them are pitching in to support one of their number while he writes a major book. Trouble is, not only have their philosophies diverged over the many years it has taken, but the author ...more
Henrik
An OK read but not Murdoch's finest accomplishment, in my opinion. I appreciated the "book and genius" element -- a core of the story -- far more in The Message To the Planet, for instance.

It may surprise people who casually browse my reading-lists, where weird and horror stories fill the landscape, but Murdoch is actually one of my favorite writers. I enjoy her language and her philosophical thinking beneath everything she writes. She can, as very few manage, get me interested in a kind of "rea
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Jennine
Smart, sharp and witty, this keenly-observed book is a no-holds barred examination of the lives of a close-knit group of privileged friends. Once the bright and beautiful, time has taken a toll on their aspirations and relationships, and nothing has quite turned out as they had planned. The intrusion of an old friend - now recast as ethical and intellectual nemesis - into their lives precipitates a series of crises with lasting consequences.

Part novel of manners, part novel of ideas, Murdoch kee
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D
A longish (600 pages) book telling the psychological evolution of a multitude of characters, faced with a few new events and a long common history. Unexpectedly, it did not get boring, even after hundreds of pages. Probably because of the frequent changes of the narrator's point of view.
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in June 2002.

The title to this complex novel suggests that it will have a religious theme, like that of The Bell. There is something in this, but it is only indirectly - the narrative reads like it is about religious ideas, but they play only a small part in the story. The book of the title is a political one, which one character, Davide Crimond, has ostensibly been writing for many years. His writing is funded by a group of rich Oxford graduates, described b
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Joey
The Book and the Brotherhood is a generous helping of political and social intrigue for the mature philosopher. With around twenty major characters, as I began the book I found it difficult to keep track of the Gullivers, Gideons, Gerards, Jenkins, Crimonds and Duncans so I made a chart to help me remember who had been tangled up with who.

Irish Murdoch's prose is obsessively wicked and consistently gorgeous throughout the 600 pages. Despite their similar names, the characters are so distinct, I
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Ali
The 23rd Iris Murdoch novel, and so the 23rd book of the Murdoch a month Challenge undertaken by a small group of us. Although we are now reading them every other month as the books have got quite large. This one at about 600 pages is pretty meaty.

The book opens with a party at an Oxford college – a group of friends many of them former students of that college are present. Past and present seem to collide that evening, the effects of which are felt by the characters and the reader throughout the
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Ioana
I just finished what actually was a re-read of this book, which obviously means I liked it enough the first time to want to read it again.

It is a typical Iris Murdoch novel, which means if you're not into her books, you're probably not going to like this one either.

Plot: A group of friends at Oxford decide to 'sponsor' the most brilliant, poor and eccentric member of their group to write 'the book that will change the world'. The book will of course be a political book and the writer has Marxis
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Kitty
Nice language and descriptions of people and setting. Too much philosophy for me. Also characters were Oxford intellectuals supporting the writing of "the" book by a crazy Marxist. It got too long. Some of characters' actions did always always seem to flow naturally from their given personalities.
Alek
This book moves so slow, and terribly dry.
Ms. Murdoch just never does get to the point with this one.
She fails at causing exitement for the reader even during the most "tragic" parts of the book, which are made to seem really no more tragic than crossing the street, sucessfuly.
If you want to read extensive passages regarding the colour and fibre content of a character's bargain bought pullover sweater, while she trollops about the party, across one terrace to the next; all the while doing relati
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Loretta
Not my favourite Murdoch, but still worth reading, as she always is. A study of character, relationships, and philosophy. In the first part of the book, I was entranced by the detailed descriptions of the characters, both physically and their inner lives. By the second half, I was irritated and annoyed by almost every character. Their motivations and refusals to leave their habitual patterns of being were driving me nuts.

But still, there is a lot here that I did enjoy. If I'm honest, if it were
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teresa
Nov 04, 2008 teresa rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
all my reading time is being sucked up by trying to finish this on some kind of misguided notion on my part that I needed to read an iris murdoch book. I find all the characters unlikable and I don't really care what happens to them one way or the other. I find the plot and plotting boring and predetermined. Murdoch does not seem to write with an invisible hand--it reminds me of Zeus moving the figures of humans around. Maybe for that reason I don't find the characters having any 'realness' to t ...more
Martha
Surprisingly, this one just didn't grab me and so I halted the reading.
Jan
My new favorite author..Iris Murdoch came into my peripheral vision from my work with Alzheimer's patients. She and her husband collaborated on a book during her demise into dementia, which I reccommended to several caregiver families for insight. Then I became aware of her huge body of work.This book was on par with 'weird', but I needed to keep reading it. Insight into the workings of the brain through the porthole of philosophy (Murdoch's training) provides intrigue beyond the usual, and more ...more
Sheila
This is a long book -606 pages. It has long paragraphs - sometimes a whole page - and long sentences. There is little plot and lots of inner turmoil among the characters. It's not for everyone, fact is most novel readers wouldn't like it; but Iris is a great writer and I felt like I knew the characters. I didn't empathize with them as I live an entirely different life and am an entirely different person; but then I read novels and biographies to encounter people other than myself.
Hugh
This is one of Iris Murdoch's most complex and philosophical novels, and is full of her trademark humour and quirky plot twists, a many layered narrative which covers a multitude of ideas. Very enjoyable, but probably not the easiest of her books to start with.
Alex
My favorite of the three Iris Murdoch novels I've read. It's about everything -- Marxism and liberalism, faith and doubt, friendship and love, fate and free-will, fidelity and betrayal...I can't even begin to describe the brilliance with which Murdoch sets up an intricate web of characters, and the methodical way their actions affect each other, spiraling out of control. A brilliantly crafted novel.
Chris Alexander
Probably my favorite book ever. I stopped reading it after the first 100 pages and let it sit on the shelf for about 10 months, but the jacket kept intriguing me. So, I started reading again from where I left off. The tension kept building and building.

I've recommended it to several people who found it too dense.

Need to re-read to discover what I liked so much about it! :0)
Andy
A labored writing makes for a labored reading, coming to an anticlimax which may well make you kick yourself for having put yourself through the ordeal of reading the massive tome leading up to it. As for the feel of the writing, to quote a song title from the Gang Of Four, "Natural's Not In It".
Christopherch
By no means a short or quick read, other commitments meant that it took me about 4 months to read this book. An excellent read though. IM cleverly guides the readers' feeling about the morality of the characters, their 'good' intentions and deeds.
Gilion Dumas
Murdoch is at the top of her game with this novel. She is droll in the telling, but forgiving with her characters, never sarcastic, and comfortable with moral ambiguity as she tells their stories without drawing conclusions or passing judgment.
Trisha
loved it. So evocative of the whole Oxford scene. Intellectual. Compelling. Read it probably nearly 20yrs ago. Understand it all SO much more, thanks to Sir Ian. Love how my life experiences give me more in-depth insight. Loved it.
Jody
I kept thinking 'Oh, what a tangled web we weave' while reading it. Typical Murdoch, but not a favorite. I couldn't particularly relate to any of the characters even though you got to know them all pretty well... and there are a lot!
Leanne Hunt
I found this book utterly absorbing. The characters come alive like real people and there is drama in all the settings. Scenes from the novel remained in my mind long after I finished it.
Gracia
I am yet to discover an Iris Murdoch novel I am not in complete awe of.

More, more... at the end of each of her books I always long to read another.
Sara
Jul 29, 2011 Sara marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
87 shortlisted for booker prize

87 shortlisted for booker prize
David
There's an excellent review of this in Stephen Fry's "Paperweight".
sarah
anything by iris murdoch is ok in my book!
Aaron
pokes fun at philosophers. i like it:)
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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
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