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Bruno's Dream

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  650 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Bruno is nearly ninety. Obsessed with his past and a passion for spiders, he is the centre of a complex web of relationships involving his estranged son Miles; Danby, his hapless son-in-law; Danby's mistress, Adelaide; and her twin cousins, the vengeful Will and the mischievous, sinister Nigel.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 24th 2001 by Vintage (first published 1969)
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Now is the Age of Our Discount Tents

Bruno’s Dream is a Shakespearean comedic send up of old age and death. If the desert island choice were between Lear and Measure for Measure, I’d go for the Duke not the King. So, I think, would Murdoch. Less pomposity; more grit.

Bruno is in any case Shakespearean as a character. In his eighties, he is not simply a failure, he is an epic failure (as my 11 year old granddaughter would express it). Every one of his important relationships are bust because of, he
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk
guardarlo fiorire, come un figlio
Leggendo il libro si ha l'impressione che l'autrice si sia divertita molto a scriverlo. Si tratta di una commedia morale nella quale l'autrice si prende gioco in ugual misura dei personaggi, che sono trascinati a fare cose mediamente assurde, e dei lettori che increduli assistono, irretiti dalla narrazione brillante. Un uomo anziano e prossimo alla morte è il singolare nucleo di aggregazione di un gruppo di persone che lo assistono e lo intrattengono. Sembra che
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aborted, own, fiction

If your primary emotional reaction to a book is that you find you want to beat the author about the head and neck with a dead possum (wearing elbow length rubber gloves to avoid getting dead possum juice on yourself, while spraying it all over the author), is that a good enough reason to stop reading?

I think Iris Murdoch is just not my kind of author, the way gin and tonics are not my kind of beverage.

Stopping at p. 77, I have the sneaking suspicion that the worst parts of the novel are ahead of
Honestly, I still don't know what to make of this book, but here are some thought-provoking quotes I'd like to share with you:

"It was a mere convention after all that one ought to be on good terms with one's son or father. Sons and fathers were individuals and should be paid the compliment of being treated as such. Why should they not have the privilege, possessed by other and unrelated persons, of drifting painlessly apart?"

"I suppose one is like what one loves. Or one loves what one is like. A
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
What a beautiful novel! The topic seems like it would not be that interesting, but I wanted to read more Iris Murdoch and so thought I would dive into this one. My favorite so far. Bruno and his circle of family and acquaintances all interact in unexpected ways and their relationships by the end of the book have been transformed from the beginning. The characters are interesting and real. She is artful in her foreshadowing and dialogue. Her philosophical bent comes through in an enjoyable manner ...more
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BRUNO’S DREAM. (1969). Iris Murdoch. ****.
Bruno’s dream is essentially the expiation of his perceived guilt of his life in his relations with the rest of his family. These guilts attack him while he is in the final stages of a disease that will inevitably end in his death. What can you say about Bruno? He has a valuable stamp collection that was mostly passed down to him from his father, although he has added to it over the years. He has a serious amateur’s rating as an etymologist; his specialt
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 stars

I liked Bruno’s Dream but it’s not my favorite of Murdoch’s books. I haven’t read the sea yet but this is the second of her books where I’ve noticed that water plays a big part or major metaphor. Per the brief bio at the end of the book Murdoch and her husband Bailey loved swimming so I’m assuming that’s one reason why water is significant to her. Love her intellectual dexterity and her use of philosophy.

Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would say this book read like an opera but the truth is that it read more like a poorly written soap opera. Everyone falls in love with everyone. Perhaps some sort attempt at exploring the complex nature of love?

It started strong, quickly became uninteresting, and never recovered.
Stephen Brody
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some wonderful lines from a powerfully imaginative and rather chillingly-foreboding novel about the rambling reminiscences of a very old man as he battles to stay alive and the daily and somewhat disordered or even over-blown lives of those who attend on him.

“Faster and faster now sphere within sphere revolves and sings. The holy city turns within the ring of equatorial emerald, within the milky way of pearl, within the lactigalactic wheel, the galaxy of galaxies, that spins motionless against
With he two other Iris Murdoch books I have read, The Black Prince and the Unicorn, Bruno's Dream left me a bit dazed at the end. The Black Prince has stayed with me because it ended so differently than most novels. The Post Dramatis chapters by the characters who had a final chance to give their perceptions did not lead to a definitive conclusion. But it was final. Nothing more could have been added.
Individual perceptions are what Murdoch is about. She emphasizes the individual way people expe
Apr 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasure to read. Yes the characters are victims of circumstance but more importantly the individuals are not read as symbols of a universal 'type' (goodie, baddie etc), this separates the novel from the moral tales that prevailed in the past and still abound today. Given this existential outlook, the histories of the characters related within the book make up a satisfying, readable and racy 'story'. One is inevitably drawn to comparisons between several situations (there are deliberately 'pai ...more
Uthpala Dassanayake
Bruno’s Dream was not up to my expectations.
In every stage, things happen in an extreme manner making it absurd some times. In the beginning three men play the main roles. All three of them lost their wives some years ago and still mourning them sometimes. In next stage everybody starts falling in love. Not with one person, but with multiple so some of them overlaps. Yet they are madly in love too. They almost look like Barbara Cartland or Daniel Steel characters. When the tangle is at its heig
hope mohammed
معروف ان الانسان العاجز يضطر الى اللجوء لماضيه ويعيش من خلال أفكاره ، برونو انسان كبير في السن عاجز ومريض فيلجأ الى التفكر في علاقاته الماضية من خلال عائلته زوجته واولاده ويرغب في مقابلة ابنه مايلز الذي لم يقابله من فترة طويلة ، سنين مضت .

تبدا الرواية بفكرة جيدة وبأسلوب قوي بينما تتعسر وتفقد رونقها في المنتصف في خلال تعمقي بالقراءة وتعثري بعلاقات افرادها وتشابكهم معا في دائرة مغلقة من العلاقات العاطفية ومشاكل ذو جانب عاطفي غالبا وهذا ماسبب في نفسي مللا في متابعة قصة ونفسية كلا منهم وتطويل لا داع
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: iris-murdoch

acesta e un roman clasic; şi psihologic; şi mistic; şi de aventuri; şi de dragoste.
dar e şi un roman modern; chiar post-.

un nonagenar, Bruno, şade pe ducă în camera sa de luni de zile. îşi contemplă colecţia de timbre, şi se gândeşte la viaţa lui care acum îi pare un vis. şi mai citeşte tratate despre păianjeni, cu care a-nceput să semene - Dumnezeu însuşi e un păianjen, de firul lui subţire şi auriu ne tot chinuim să ne-agăţăm, dar de cele mai multe ori îl scăpăm –; aşa că toate
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the book, which is about Bruno dying: "... The pain only increased until Diana did not even know whether it was pain anymore, and she wondered if she would be utterly changed by it or whether she would return into her ordinary being and forget what it had been like in those last days with Bruno. She felt that if she could only remember it she would be changed. But in what way? And what was there to remember? What was there that seemed so important, something that she could understand now an ...more
Frank Spencer
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
No good news here about getting old. The story is compelling in relation to Murdoch's life at the end. Stamps (of all things) figure strongly in the story. They lose the war with the Thames. The other interesting battles are with the passage of time (bet on Mother Time if you get the opportunity; give any odds) and with one's inner thoughts and memories. Bruno is continually bothered by things that happened years ago. Six stars; why be limited by the rating scale!
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A perfect novel - perfect length, no superfluous filler; perfect consistency of tone throughout, with a disarming blend of gentle pathos (though never sentimentality) and rueful humour - one of my favourite Murdochs. The scene with a drunken Danby stranded at night in a sea of suburban gardens was delightful.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: death
The first of Murdoch's books that I have read. Emotionally powerful, gripping, although I found little sympathy or empathy for the characters. At the same time, the emotive writing of the author wraps you up in the crushing guilt of the title character, and definitely makes me want to read more of the author's works.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookers
I read this book as a domestic comedy, but it was not until quite late in the story that I was certain this was the author's intention. This is not a cheerful book. Bruno is dying, he loved his wife, who got cancer and died after she saw him with his mistress, who probably also died. His son Miles loved his wife, who died in a plane crash on a visit to try to reconcile her parents to the marriage. Bruno and Miles are estranged after Bruno made a tactless remark about coffee-coloured grandchildre ...more
I'm not actually sure what I read. Its characters all very much lack impulse control, but otherwise there wasn't much that I thought Bruno dreamed up. I hope he didn't, at nearly ninety this cluttered romantic thing that doesn't involve himself is a horrible thing to dream of. Anyway, most characters were unlikable, their predicaments utterly stupid, but I still had a semblance of fun reading it, perhaps because I thought it ridiculous. I did like Danby a little, so I was glad that he got his Ho ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nope .... felt like something from Jane Austin..and I've never read it. Hopeless desire. This phrase, almost at the end explains the entire book.
Funda Guzer
Başlangıç ve sonuç çok eğlenceli fakat ortası /gelişme sürükleyici değil.
Simon Mcleish
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in June 2003.

An old man lying on his deathbed, barely understanding what happens around him, may seem an unpromising central character for a novel. It may be that this is part of the reason that Bruno's Dream is not one of Murdoch's best novels, but it is certainly a theme which suited her style, which itself has dreamlike qualities, more than it would that of many writers.

Bruno's concerns are those which might be considered typical of someone in his position
Ginette González
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¡Mi primera novela de Murdoch! Sólo había visto la conmovedora película "Iris" con Kate Winslet y Judi Dench pero no había tenido en mis manos un libro de su amplia obra. Intensos y ágiles retratos de los sentimientos y cambios ¿drásticos? de perspectiva y emociones en sus personajes en esta novela. Me queda de este primer acercamiento a Iris Murdoch la certeza de que su arte es complejo y de muchos caminos, por ello me quedo pensando en Bruno, en su relato ensoñador, crudo, brumoso, irreal y mu ...more
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well it was a delight to revel in Iris Murdoch’s writing again, so shortly after finishing “The Nice and the Good”, and what a huge leap was made from reading “A.L. Barker’s “John Brown’s Body”. As soon as I was a couple of pages into this I was hooked. The writing was a breeze to read, the complex characters, their lamentations on love and loss all so familiar to her shortlisted novel of the year before.

The novel opens with Bruno on his death bed, reflecting on his life, the women he loved, his
May 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The titular Bruno is 90 years old and invalid. The first couple of chapters are from his perspective but thereafter the story mainly follows what he has wrought in the word, descendants and dependants – mainly, children, stepchildren and caretakers. In characteristic Murdochian fashion, they all proceed through a whirlwind of romances, betrayals, breakups and assorted emotional cataclysms, plus a dash of melodrama (a destructive flood this time). The compelling bit of character development is ho ...more
Robin Edman
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Iris Murdoch writes about these incredibly chatty people in what should be an irritatingly verbose way, but for some reason, in her works, the extra verbiage works. Bruno is old, old, old, but not quite dying, and in his hanging on he brings around him and into contact with each other a variety of people who interact in the most telling ways. All the silly stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves are dissected and revealed by this cutting barrage of talk, talk, talk. And still we don't see ...more
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: british
This is the first Iris Murdoch novel I've read. My history with Iris Murdoch involves watching the film Iris at least twice, and watching my year 13 English teacher read Iris Murdoch all through my senior high school year of English rather than teaching us English. He was obsessed. I picked up an Iris Murdoch novel around that time just to see what he was so interested in, but failed to get anything out of it.

Now that I'm the age my English teacher was then, I can finally get through one. I'm n
I read this a few years ago after finding a second hand copy. At the time I was much less familiar with Murdoch's work (in fact it was only the second of the 16 I have read so far), and I would have to re-read it to review it properly - I remember the next two I read (Under the Net and The Black Prince) much better.
The prospect of re-reading it does not appeal to me, as for me this was one of her more forgettable and less interesting books, but perhaps I would see more in it if I read it again
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the structure of this--the way the story unfolded through the alternating characters' points of view. There were lots of plot twists that kept me interested throughout. Murdoch fleshed out the characters enough to keep them from falling into stereotypes. Despite this, their eccentric behavior does give the story a soap opera-feel at times--not my favorite thing. But ultimately, I could see where they were coming from and why they were so messed up. Hadn't read Murdoch before this, ...more
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The Mookse and th...: 1970 Shortlist: Bruno's Dream 3 21 Feb 28, 2018 11:49AM  
  • Eva Trout
  • Gossip from the Forest
  • Mrs Eckdorf in O'Neill's Hotel
  • A Five Year Sentence
  • The Bird of Night
  • Iris Murdoch: A Life
  • Rumours Of Rain
  • The Public Image
  • Ending Up
  • Goshawk Squadron
  • The 27th Kingdom
  • The Doctor's Wife
  • Last Letters from Hav
  • Praxis
  • Impossible Object
  • According to Mark
  • Flying to Nowhere
  • Great Granny Webster
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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“Si se entiende por eternidad, no la duración temporal sin fin, sino la ausencia de tiempo, vive eternamente el que vive en el presente.” 9 likes
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