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The Flight from the Enchanter
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The Flight from the Enchanter

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  723 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Annette runs away from her finishing school but learns more than she bargained for in the real world beyond; the fierce and melancholy Rosa is torn between two Polish brothers; Peter is obsessed by an indecipherable ancient script. This is a story of a group of people under a spell, and the centre of it all is the mysterious Mischa Fox, the enchanter.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Vintage (first published 1956)
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May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, favourites
Interesting 50s office sexual politics: secretaries slowly and carefully getting promoted and taking over, unchallenged. Cold war influences re the sinister aspect of central/eastern Europe, plus a right-of-passage novel regarding one character.

Description: Annette runs away from her finishing school but learns more than she bargained for in the real world beyond; the fierce and melancholy Rosa is torn between two Polish brothers; Peter is obsessed by an indecipherable ancient script. This is a story of a group of people under a spell, and the centre of it all is the mysterious Mischa Fox, the enchanter.

Opening: It was about three o'clock on a Friday afternoon when Annette decided to leave school. An Italian lesson was in progress. In
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-from-1956

I don't personally know anyone who has read Iris Murdoch's novels. This is her second novel and only the second one I have read. I find her books so far, to be refreshingly unique. In this one she explores the hold a strong personality can have over other people, denying them the freedom to live by their own determinism.

Only gradually does the reader realize which character in the story is the enchanter and by then you are so invested in several of his victims' lives, that you fear for them and
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot at the beginning; but by the end, I was kind of irritated and impatient to be done with it. Still, there is no gainsaying that Murdoch is an amazing writer. There are some extremely funny set pieces; there are elements of fable; and throughout it all, absolutely stunning prose - smooth, full of arresting but utterly convincing images, psychologically compelling.
Tracy Kendall
Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!!!! Once again (as with The Bell), the characters jump at you and move on their own. She has a way of interconnecting various characters in surprising ways - selecting only 3 or 4 of them in which to use omniscient voice, and those character really do grab you and make you want to come back to the book. I did find Mischa intriguing, and wished that she would have used the omniscient voice with him, but maybe that would have ruined his power, as I took him to be the Enchanter.
Nina Milton
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Flight from the Enchanter was Murdoch's second book, but it was my first introduction to my number-one writing hero, which made me long to also write about love and power and goodness and beauty and what makes up a human being. Suddenly, at the age of twenty, I wanted to say great things, like Murdoch, who, being a professor of philosophy, has a far greater claim to be able to write such things than I will ever have. However, if we can’t be inspired by the great exemplars, what hope is there ...more
Stephanie Pullen
"Never mind what they establish!" said Rosa. "So all your work was for nothing, for nothing!" She spoke half angrily, half in grief.

Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

One of the things about reading an author’s work in sequence, is that you get to see how their style and voice changes with each book or, which elements stay the same. After reading Under the Net, Iris Murdoch’s first novel, The Flight from the Enchanter is quite a different book. Like the first novel, there are some madcap moments, such as the Artemis magazine shareholders meeting, there is a mystery revolving around an enigmatic character and the class structure of the day plays a par
Jul 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: favorites
My first foray into Murdoch's oeuvre has left me a little confused and muddled.
A complicated book that never really delivers what it promises; too many non-sequiturs.
The premise really never culminates into anything. The characters are imprisoned (and thereby narrowed) by their own inaction and fear and far too many of them dissolve into tears at the slightest provocation. It frustrated me. I didn't take to any individual or feel any pathos for their respective plights. I wanted to slap some s
Stefania Pastori
L'INCANTATORE di Iris Murdoch mi ha lasciata perplessa, perché non l'ho capito. Ci sono tanti personaggi le cui vicende sono intrecciate, ho impiegato più o meno mezzo libro (composto da poco meno di 300 pagine) per cogliere chi fosse l'incantatore del titolo (il che, secondo la scuola di sceneggiatura da cui provengo, è UN DELITTO GRAVISSIMO!), sono rimasta abbastanza intrigata dalla prima parte, perché scorre veloce, è accattivante e stuzzichevole, anche sotto il profilo del sottile erotismo d ...more
Feb 02, 2008 rated it liked it
The story of a group of people who love and fear the magician who affects all their lives: the ravishing and eccentric young Annette who, after swinging on a chandilier, runs away from her finishing school to enter the School of Life, and learns a good deal more than she bargained for: the fierce and melancholy Rosa, the mistress of two Polish brothers: her brother, editor of a down-at-heel magazine: the scholar, Peter Saward, obsessed by an indecipherale ancient script: Rainborough, a civil ser ...more
Zuzana Reveszova
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminist, british
I really enjoyed reading the novel. It is a very full story - nice composition of characters, intense narrative and deep insight of contemporary issues that might freeze you even nowadays - deportations, threats, illegal work etc.
Giusy Pappalardo
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Un libro insolito, in cui sembra mancare una unità centrale, tuttavia capace di trascinare nella lettura delle vicende di una moltitudine di personaggi. Iniziando a leggerlo mi sono immaginata il classico romanzo di inizio '900. Man mano che andavo avanti invece mi sono resa conto che non esiste uno svolgimento organico di fatti ma, come nella vita reale, personaggi e storie si intrecciano in un susseguirsi di eventi apparentemente slegati da loro. Protagonista di questo romanzo sono proprio le ...more
Eric Kalnins
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fascinating read ... fuller review to follow!

I'm a devotee of almost any audiobook narrated by Robin Sachs, and he didn't disappoint in this audio edition of The Flight from the Enchanter.

This was my first Murdoch, and I have to admit that I found it more than a little confusing. I won't detail the plot; I'll just say that I still don't understand the denouement.

I think this audio version is available only from I'm not sorry that I used one of my "credits" on it. I may even listen to it again, if only to have 11 hrs of Sachs
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Murdoch seems to have a limitless talent for taking any idea, however promising, in the wrong direction. It may have something to do with her predilection for mythological and classical parallels. The problem is, you can't go chasing archetypes in this dogged manner. They invariably elude the direct approach, and more often than not the author is left high and dry.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk
A book where apparently people never lock their doors and when you don't, a Polish guy will creep into your house and set your lil' brother's hair on fire.
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mixture of Agota Kristof, feminist novels and Bildungsroman (which wasn't). Charming and a bit haunting novel.
May God and readers save Learys secondhand bookshop in Inverness.
Brona's Books
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Flight From the Enchanter is an assured piece of of writing by an emerging writer. But what does it all mean?

I found myself asking the same question when I finished Under the Net last month. It would seem that Murdoch preferred to write set pieces loosely linked together with apparent randomness and bizarre coincidences. These set pieces were often gorgeous pieces of writing. I will never forget Annette swinging from the chandelier as she leaves formal education to embark on the School of Life!
John Houghton
Dec 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this as part of the #IMReadAlong project:

I found The Flight from the Enchanter a more consistently amusing and coherent read than Under the Net.

The characters were all intriguing and felt more-or-less like rounded individuals, rather than ciphers for philosophical viewpoints. This applies even to those I would dread to meet in real life. Take a bow the Veruca Salt-esque Annette and that wet puddle of middle-aged resentment and sexual frustration M
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
What I enjoy most in a book is to get partway into one and find that I'm reading something quite unlike anything I've read before. This novel is very much like that. I have been stalking the used bookstores for years looking for a copy of Under The Net, and have not found one, but I did find this and quickly picked it up.
Very soon afterwards I was writing to a friend, telling her that I was reading a strange book, but a good one, that was very unusual. It is a small handful of books that glide
It is often said that Iris Murdoch was a moral writer. A philosophical writer. My reading of this novel (my first Murdoch) found this to be true. We humans are not fabulistic creatures. We are people. We always stumble and make errors in judgement as we try to figure life out. This book was filled with humor and symbolism. I liked it.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Both sex scenes already have seemed like rape to me. Very upsetting.
Eva Arrhenius
In the beginning it seemed uneven and at times hard to stand the story. All comes together and is strangely memorable and fascinating. I have an urge to read more Iris Murdoch.
Hayley Lawton
May 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Less fantasy than I wanted, really, and it started to irritate me towards the end. Murdoch is a great writer but I was let down with the ending.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Lesser Murdoch to me, has lots of the things that are good in her writing, but the overall story, and the supposed spell of the "enchanter," seemed overwrought and underdeveloped.
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
The notion that one can liberate another soul from captivity? That’s the illusion of the young
Andrew Kavanagh
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Flight from the Enchanter explores the complexities of many characters and how they are intersected through their acquaintance with the enigmatic press baron Mischa Fox. Fox, a polarizing force in their lives, seems to draw out what the notion of power represents to each one. To Nina the dressmaker, he represents fear, to Annette Cockeyne, the privileged debutante, he represents the magnetic allure of an absent father-figure, to frustrated scholar Peter Saward he is a riddle to be solved, to ...more
Aniko Carmean
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Iris Murdoch has an unparalleled talent for putting her characters into awkward, flabbergasting messes. Each character's hideous bad decisions result in unintended outcomes that tend towards horrific. THE FLIGHT FROM THE ENCHANTER is Murdoch at her character-twisting finest.

Annette, youthful and vibrant, leaves school. She wants to go to the school of life, and despite two near-rapes, a ridiculous midnight (and half-naked) pursuit of a man old enough to be her father, and a silly suicide attemp
Verity Halliday
A strange book, read for my local book group as our March-April 2016 pick. I look forward to discussing this with people who remember the 1950's to see how the novel's atmosphere accords with their memories of the era.

I'm not sure how I feel about the book. There were some very funny parts, for example the elderly suffragettes arguing at the Artemis AGM, but also some very disturbing parts (view spoiler) which I didn't feel were a
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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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