Jon's Reviews > The Sacred and Profane Love Machine

The Sacred and Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch
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Apr 28, 2010

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I have tried Iris Murdoch's work several times and have always bogged down and given up. This one tempted me to do the same, since it's not the kind of novel that appeals to me--it has hardly any plot: it's more an agonizing situation, repetitively described from multiple characters' perspectives, with, finally, some actual events that precipitate a very surprising conclusion--one which Murdoch clearly enjoyed, since she fooled the reader with a false one near the end. One Goodreads reviewer commented that she really put her characters through the wringer in this one, and that is certainly true. Some of the scenes were quite funny, many too dark to be funny at all. Exactly what the machine was, and exactly which loves were sacred and which were profane were (for me, anyway) tantalizingly ambiguous. But there were far too many pages repetitively describing the characters' self-justifications and self-serving analyses of what was going on. Actual dialogue and confrontation, when it occurred, was vivid and memorable; I think the reader could have deduced from these scenes much of what Murdoch went to great lengths to explain in exposition. But finally, not a lot of plot, and very few, if any, admirable characters.
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07/13 marked as: read

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