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Sotto la rete

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  10,810 Ratings  ·  485 Reviews
Jake Donaghue, garrulous artist, meets Hugo Belfounder, silent philosopher.

Jake, hack writer and sponger, now penniless flat-hunter, seeks out an old girlfriend, Anna Quentin, and her glamorous actress sister, Sadie. He resumes acquaintance with formidable Hugo, whose ‘philosophy’ he once presumptuously dared to interpret. These meetings involve Jake and his eccentric serv
La scala, 321 pages
Published 2005 by Rizzoli (first published 1954)
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I may be alone in thinking this, but Iris Murdoch's main character here, Jake Donaghue, reminds me of Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye fame. Both are seriously separated from normality, and both take us on their disjointed, almost chaotic, trips around their respective cities; Jake in London and Holden in New York. Salinger's novel was published in 1951, Murdoch's in 1954, but I don't think there was any influence there, at least consciously, but their similarities struck me. But now o ...more
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I loved this book. A first person narrative about a young man on a picaresque quest for love and friendship, with a good healthy dose of philosophy added in for good measure.

The part of the story that stays with me is the story around Hugo. I think I liked most the idea that a friendship might end on the basis of an assumed betrayal and that the betrayal is one of the spirit and not one that occurred at all. Although, that is an interesting question in itself - does the person we feel we have be
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cocky narrator of "Under the Net" is precisely what all true antiheroes are made of. Roaming the streets of London like some vagabond (though money frequently touches his hands) & interacting with vile people, THIS is a perpetual ode to laziness, exactly the type of thing to spark my particular interest.

The story is organic, its flow envious: few writers can get away with such subtle themes and sensual undertow. It is eerie, weirdly and mysteriously symbolic. A more faithful rendition o
Rebecca Foster
(3.5) I plan to dip in and out of Liz Dexter’s two-year Iris Murdoch readalong project to increase my familiarity with Murdoch and get through some of the paperbacks I happen to own. Even though I don’t own it, I decided to join in with Under the Net (1954) to see how her fiction career began.

Under the Net is narrated by Jake Donoghue, a translator who arrives back in London after a trip to France to find that he’s being kicked out of the flat where he’s been living for free with his friend Finn
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
You can't spend too much time figuring Iris Murdoch out. It's better to just buckle in with her. Her characters are basically insane, and so are her plots, and so are her sentences. They have a tidal effect; they pull you under.

Under the Net reminds me of Martin Amis's Money, or more accurately Money reminds me of it. They feature amoral protagonists in the entertainment industry, and they're both nuts. I actually think Money is a little better. It's certainly amped up, which is startling consi
Description: Iris Murdoch's first novel is set in a part of London where struggling writers rub shoulders with successful bookies, and film starlets with frantic philosophers. Its hero, Jake Donaghue, is a drifting, clever, likeable young man who makes a living out of translation work and sponging on his friends. A meeting with Anna, an old flame, leads him into a series of fantastic adventures. Jake is captivated by a majestic philosopher, Hugo Belfounder, whose profound and inconclusive refle ...more
Hossain Salahuddin
"I hate solitude, but I am afraid of intimacy. The substance of my life is a private conversation with myself which to turn into a dialogue would be equivalent to self-destruction"

Winner of the Booker Prize, Irish-born British author Iris Murdoch’s (1919-1999) 1954 novel 'Under the Net' is a philosophical fiction dealing with the exuberant spirit of existentialism and freedom in a postwar europe. 'Under the Net' is Murdoch’s very first novel, and remains one of her most popular. In 2005, it was
Aly Lawson
Sep 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
When I read this in college our modern literature professor warned us against being hayseed critics. We need to have a basis for our criticism, a chunk of spoken reason, or thought, behind our critiques and accolades of each book we read. Otherwise we’ll end up looking like the foolish critic in Norman Rockwell’s painting, sucking on a strand of hay while we squint and furrow at a work of art still in progress.

By the time Murdoch’s book was assigned that quarter, I was trying hard not be caught
Aug 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It seems to me that most male authors have male central characters, and female authors female central characters, especially when the novel is in the first person. It also seems to me that female authors (in general) create more believable female central characters, and male authors (in general) more believable male characters, especially concerning central characters and particularly when in the first person narrative. This shouldn't be surprising. That said, this novel, for me, is the best exc ...more
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Iris Murdoch is among my favorite writers. I’ve read 4 books by her so far (this is the 4th) and I was amazed with her capacity to touch psychology and philosophy at the same time, while focusing on crucial moments from the lives of her characters. I read “The Sea, The Sea” (her Man Booker Prize work) and I considered it stunning, but the other books I read by her were even more powerful than her award-winning novel.

“Starting a novel is opening a door on a misty landscape; you can still see very
Red Panda
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Iris Murdoch novel (although I've been meaning to read something of hers for years) and I was half expecting it to be dense and somewhat stuffy (literary award winning author and all that jazz). Much to my great delight, it was no such thing.

This book has a likeable, somewhat puckish, picaresque protagonist who leads you through a few days of his life in a conversational, easy-to-read style. We see the carousel of his relationships as the people in his life dance around him, we
Nov 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I'll ever tire of Iris Murdoch and am on a mission to read every book in her oeuvre.

Under the Net is a brilliant book about language and its inability to express certain things. It's leitmotif is that life is an amalgamation of meaningless events to which only the individual gives meaning.

It's a very British book and is full of sounds and rhythms of London life.
Barry Pierce
At the beginning I was enjoying this semi-farcical/semi-philosophical novel. I love the ridiculousness of the entire plot and the characters but after a while it just became a bore. Once I hit the last hundred page stretch I found myself picking it up, reading ten pages, and putting it down again ad nauseum. It was a bit of a struggle to finish. However this book has not put me off Murdoch's work thankfully so I will be revisiting her again sometime in the future.
May 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Her first published novel, set in "contemporary" 50s London. Aimless youth gets philosophical. He oughtn't to be a sympathetic character and nothing much happens, but it's strangely compelling.
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تدور الرواية حول جيك و هو مؤلف و صحفي يعيش حياة فوضوية متبطلة، لا تلوي على شيء و لا حتى للشهرة و المال، أشبه بالريشة التي تستسلم للريح و لتأخذها حيثما شاءت، و حول بعض الأحداث التي حصلت له في فترة من فترات حياته مع أصدقائه، و خاصة هوجو، الرجل غريب الأطوار الذي يعيش فلسفته الخاصة، لدرجة التخلي عن ثروته أكثر من مرة لأجل فكرة... و الكثير من النقاش و الحوار حول عدد من القضايا... و الكثير من ضمير الأنا للراوي جيك و عالمه الداخلي و تبصر في تحليل نفسه و مشاعره و تناقضاته...0
ليس هناك من أحداث لا مألوفة،
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found it impressive for a first novel, but I only semi-liked it. The First Person POV misanthropic antihero reminded somewhat of Salinger; the highly detailed descriptions reminded me somewhat of A. S. Byatt, and the semantics/linguistics philosophy reminded me strongly of Alfred Korzybski and S. I. Hayakawa. I admire all of these other writers and thinkers, so I'm surprised I didn't like it more than I did. Maybe the wandering nature of the plot left me wanting more narrative pull? Whatever, ...more
Only a few weeks late, I finished this book for a July literary birthday read. What an odd book. At first, I took it seriously - that is, until I realized that it was meant to be funny.

Parts of it were totally absurd and reminded me of that crazy movie that the Beatles put out in 1964 (A Hard Day's Night), which was a madcap romp around London. No particular destination, just following whims and the needs of the moment. Running from people; racing around trying to find other people. It was funn
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely loved reading this again - it was a hoot from start to finish. What an entertaining experience this was.

Witty, sharp, hilarious and colourful are the only words I can use to describe this tale of the hapless anti-hero, Jake Donaghue. At times this reminded me a little of Richard E Grant's wonderful Withnail character of the film; theatrical, fully versed in the power of the English language, sponger, all-time heavy drinker and leading the most charmed existence possible in 1950's Lond
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Iris Murdoch is very good at contemplative, philosophical novels. This one, her debut, is also very funny.
It follows the wanderings of a young man called Jake, through London, through his thoughts and through his attempts to understand other people. He is not very good at relating to others, Jakes' world revolves around Jake. He is self-centred in a way many young men are, not because he is selfish, but because he cannot empathise, however much he might like to. This makes Jake both irritating a
I really find it hard to put in words why I have come to love Iris Murdoch. I was first exposed to her writing with The Black Prince.

It isn't the plot or even really the characters that draws me in. In point of fact, I really don't like the people in her books. In this book, however, there is a lot more humor to be had. It is like a slow, drawn out Wodehouse novel.

So, it must be something about her writing that I like. That must be it. It's a comfortable style. A soothing style. I will have to
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In doing a little prereading about Iris Murdoch before attempting her first novel, inspired by Liz Dexter’s ( Iris Murdoch readalong, I was growing intimidated. Nominated for the Booker six times, won with The Sea, The Sea, a philosophy teacher at Oxford! This did not bode well for a simple, fun read and yet…it was. Philosophical icons like Kant and Plato are mentioned in passing, Hugo and Jake’s conversations skirt philosophical issues and towards the end even truth ...more
Mark Joyce
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a wonderful book, though apparently the author herself didn't rate it very highly. The central character, Jake Donaghue, is a deeply flawed, self-absorbed artistic underachiever of the type that Murdoch went on to develop so memorably in later novels like The Black Prince and The Sea, The Sea. Under the Net is not as savagely funny as those books but has a greater innocence and vitality, probably because of the main character's (and the author's) relative youth. Because of thi ...more
Not particularly humorous; the inclusion of this novel under the Comedy section of the Guardian's list made me anticipate something funnier. That said, I did enjoy it and perhaps if you are a writer, Jake might seem more comic.

I liked Murdoch's writing style & look forward to reading some of her other books such as The Sea, the Sea.
Charlie Rosenthal
Irish novelist Iris Murdoch's debut novel Under the Net is, at least in theory, one of those thrilling On the Road-style chronicles of youth spent without responsibility, thus creating interesting adventures populated by larger than life characters. However, what separates Under the Net from other, similar novels is, simply, that the characters are--with the exception of Jake--not interesting in the slightest. Murdoch spends a great fraction of the book explaining to the reader precisely why Jak ...more
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-to-read, british
I wish goodreads widened its rating scale. My opinion of this book falls somewhere in the area between 'really liked it' and 'it was amazing'. It's a kind of 'really, REALLY liked it'.

I usually enjoy reading a novel's page on goodreads after finishing the book. Seeing my thoughts reflected in other readers' reviews gives me narcissistic pleasure and keeps at bay any urge to write my own. Today, however, I was bitterly disappointed - so many complaints against this marvelous piece! The story is t
This if the first Iris Murdoch novel (her debut novel) I've read, and though I don't like to give up on a writer after only one try, I'm trying to imagine why I might want to read any more of her work. I gave the book 2 stars - 'it was ok' - because it was ok, but only just ok. She can write and form lovely sentences, but the story was so anemic and undercooked I've lost my appetite.

I spent the past few days wondering "Is there something wrong with this book? Or is there something wrong with my
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, classic

The book sounds like a very simple story:
young author with a fear of committment (girlfriends)
refuses to apply himself and write books without paraphrasing
other peoples words (Hugo).
If you look beneath this narrative you will discover
the magnificent allusions (The Aeneid) (water, rivers, rebirth) Murdoch uses.
This is an amazing writing achievement ....for a first novel!
Kris McCracken
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Under the Net is Iris Murdoch's first novel. It's a fun romp with plenty of laughs, some great set pieces and decent philosophical ruminations. It has its flaws, but nothing that should stop you reading it!

Very funny stuff.
Laura J. W.
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was sad to see this book end, I had such a lovely time reading it...such a delight! The ending was quite sweet and perfect.
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Guardian Newspape...: July 2016 - Under the Net 19 23 Sep 10, 2017 03:43PM  
Snippets That Ins...: What Is It About Silence? 1 3 Nov 05, 2016 03:17PM  
Snippets That Ins...: Works of Art? 1 1 Sep 24, 2016 06:19AM  
Boxall's 1001 Bo...: July {2010} Discussion -- UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch 26 173 Aug 16, 2010 04:34AM  
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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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“I hate solitude, but I'm afraid of intimacy. The substance of my life is a private conversation with myself which to turn into a dialogue would be equivalent to self-destruction. The company which I need is the company which a pub or a cafe will provide. I have never wanted a communion of souls. It's already hard enough to tell the truth to oneself.” 207 likes
“For most of us, for almost all of us, truth can be attained, if at all, only in silence. It is in silence that the human spirit touches the divine.” 50 likes
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