The more I think about Under the Net the more I like it. It has nice balance of quirky characters, a rollicking fun story, with a bit of sobriety thrown in. As the story progresses Jake matures and it is interesting to watch the transformation. The guy is a serious diaster in the beginning, but by the end I was certain he would get his act together.
The chapter in which Jake dog-naps Mars is hilarious! It could stand on its own as funny sketch comedy. I don't think I ever laughed quite so hard while reading a novel. I loved the relationship of Jake and Mars, which was more honest and trusting than Jake's relationship with any of human characters. Then Murdoch strikes a more serious tone when she sums up in the final chapter with, "So we live - a spirit that broods and hovers over the continual death of time, the lost meaning, the unrecaptured moment, the unremembered face, until the final chop-chop that ends all our moments and plunges that spirit back into the void from which it came."
I'm looking forward to reading more of her work, in particular her Booker Award winning The Sea, The Sea. I may have to do that sooner rather than later.