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The Time of the Angels

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  517 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Carel is widowed rector presiding over a London church destroyed during the war. The rectory is home to an array of residents: his daughter, Muriel; his beautiful invalid ward, Elizabeth; their West Indian servant, Pattie; Eugene, a Russian emigre, and his delinquent son, Leo. Carel's brother, Marcus, is co-guardian of Elizabeth, but his attempts to get closer to the recto ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1966)
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Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Too many characters in this rigmarole which--incestuous and lesbianic as it is--boils down to a very expected end. The excessive light versus dark, fog versus clarity thing promises--ghosts? killers?--but surprises only in how unspecial for Murdoch this novel is.
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english-british
this is my first Murdoch novel and I am honestly bowled over by her brilliance. the novel is compact, intense, reflective, philosophical and dark with flashes of happiness.
Though Carel, the reclusive, eccentric and manipulative godless priest is at the peripheries textually, he is in fact, the center of everything that is happening, the nucleus of all life and events.
My favorite characters would be the delinquent Leo and Muriel. Though Elizabeth too becomes a very savory character.
The book is h
Ben Loory
Have not enjoyed the last two Iris Murdoch books I've read nearly as much as the first 6 or 7 and I'm starting to get a little worried that I read all the good ones right off the bat and now the other 30 are gonna be bad? V concerned. Not sure how to proceed
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, favourites
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
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Kurgusu, karakterleri, diyalogları vs. her şeyiyle mükemmel bir kitaptı. Okurken yapılan bir takım atıfları anlamak için bilmediğim yerde araştırma da yaptım (dasein öümü, modern psikoloji...). Çok keyifli bir okuma oldu. Özellikle din,ahlak gibi konuları sorgulayan okuyucuları tatmin edecek şahane diyaloglar var. Ben bir sonraki Iris Murdoch kitabım için şimdiden heyecanlanıyorum :)
Bryn Hammond
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Nathan Lee
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
What did I like about the book?
It is intense. The main characters are deeply living in their own worlds and struggle to understand others outside of their own needs. They intellectualise justifications for their own psychological drives. 

What did I not like about the book? 
It is very English. It feels of its time and place and culture. They did just all need to get out more. Most of the dilemmas were not real. 

The way Norah cuts through everything so well. We have long sections of inte
Oct 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites

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
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Iris Murdoch’s novels are philosophy: but they are philosophy which casts doubts on all philosophy including her own. She is an author whose project involves an ironic distance not only from her characters but also from herself."

Until quite recently, I think, philosophers have not written very well on Iris Murdoch. MacIntyre, in the above, is more generous than some, but there is that lingering sense with him here as elsewhere that the generosity is tempered by the very inward-directed attent
Constance Dunn
Mar 26, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The priest of no God, a half-shadowed demon, a godfather hiding in semidarkness and shadows of his study, a dark figure in cassock, a mad philosopher, Carel is one of the most attractive characters I have ever met. There is always such a character in Murdock’s novels, the one, who is above all others. Even the omniscient author has no access to his mind. All the events are weaving around this mysterious personality, other characters are afraid of him and at the same time love, revere him. He is ...more
Nov 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-2009
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).
Stephen Brody
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“She said this with a sense of uttering some extraordinary blasphemy in a concealed form. It was like saying swear words in a foreign language.”

“To be the cause that another person desires to be happy is a grave responsibility.”

* * * * *
The blurb on the back of my now antiquated copy, and presumably in an attempt to attract a wider readership than the authoress herself might wished to have had, says , rather absurdly, this: “Miss Murdoch uses her great gift for sustained suspense to create a ch
Peter Pinkney
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first Iris Murdoch that I have read. My partner loves her, so I thought I'd give her books a go.
It is a very dark psychological study of a rector, his family and servants. I can't put any detail, because the whole story revolves around revealing sinister secrets right from the beginning.
Murdoch writes beautifully, and certainly knows how to hold suspense.
This book reminded me very much of Dostoevsky, especially Crime and Punishment.
Murdoch may be a slightly forgotten author these day
Write Room
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
May 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
one star is generous!
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jul 13, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Askari
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it
The novel is a tragic farce about a disturbed priest and the household he presides over--an East London, fog-bound riverside rectory without a church. He has a daughter he has dissuaded from going to university and an even more captive niece, who wears a steel corset for a back condition and is immured in a bedroom. He has seduced his passive, endlessly malleable black maid, a person who's almost not a person--who was conceived casually, abandoned by her mother and brought only to a sense of her ...more
Karen Barnacle
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
You can always rely on Iris Murdoch for an interesting plot, enchantment, intrigue and a canter through theology and philosophy. This is set in a London rectory, the only building other than a Wren tower that is still standing in the area. Father Carel is a priest who has just moved into the parish, bringing with him his adult daughter Muriel and his ward, the invalid Elizabeth. All three live a claustrophobic life, other than the servants Pattie, Eugene (who is already resident in the rectory) ...more
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Something is somewhat peculiar.

Both the online Britannica and Wikipedia fail to mention this novel when listing Murdoch’s novels by time of publication.

It is only in the “Works” section of Wikipedia, down the page, that we first encounter “The Time of the Angels” as a novel published in 1966, the only one there with a red link, not having a Wikipedia entry for it yet.

If one searches Google for this novel they will find a lot of stuff on the Dr. Who’s episode of that name.

The novel itself was qui
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015
I'd been planing to read something of hers for a while (The Sea, the Sea, Under the Net are on my TBR list), but I bought this one very very cheap (and old, it decomposed as I read it) in Hye-on-Wye (aprox. 9 months ago) and I haven't read it until now.

I thought it would be difficult and weird but it turns out it's difficult and weird and also incredibly engaging. I'm quite aware some of the philosophy escaped me, but I still devoured it and enjoyed it, and I guess that what I made of it is what
Apr 08, 2016 added it
Shelves: 2016
It's an odd book, or maybe I should say disconserting. I'm glad it's not my first Murdoch. I might hesitate in reading more of hers if it was.

Reading it felt like walking slipping through mud covered dark alley. I felt like cursing every single character and Murdoch herself. Why did she need to treat Muriel that way? Not that she's adorable lovable and other nauseous adjective, it's just that she's so pitiful and maddening at the same time. Leo is simply laughable and I kinda agree with other's
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable in many ways and also a little murky!

The book is replete with imagery. Most prominent are love, lust, religion, truth, the contrast between dream and reality.

Lots of interesting loose ends are tied up in the final 30 pages or so.

Some wonderful set scenes....particularly Muriel and Leo in the linen cupboard looking through the crack!

I read and reread the paragraph at the start of chapter two describing the tea which Marcus and Mrs Shadox Brown are enjoying. Such excellent description...
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
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
Gila Gila
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am unhealthily obsessed with this deliciously unhealthy book. Surely there's an X-rated version being filmed somewhere in need of a ... something. An anything. I'll do Leo's make up (has any fictional character so begged for eyeliner), I'll bring Carel his tea to give him the energy needed for so many ... forays. I'll loan him my riding crops, one imagines he'd know what to do with them. Or perhaps such items come with the ministry. But really, whatever's called for, like almost everyone in th ...more
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
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.
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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 about Iris Murdoch...

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“Never seen the sea! How could anyone not have seen the sea? Surely the sea must somehow belong to the happiness of every child.” 2 likes
“The death of God has set the angels free. And they are terrible. There are principalities and powers. Angels are the thoughts of God. Now he had been dissolved into his thoughts which are beyond our conception in their nature and their multiplicity and their power. God was at least the name of something which we thought was good. Now even the name has gone and the spiritual world is scattered. There is nothing any more to prevent the magnetism of many spirits.” 2 likes
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