Jane's Reviews > A Severed Head

A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch
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's review
Nov 29, 2010

really liked it

One of Murdoch's principal specialties seems to be setting powerful personalities into play, with either disastrous or liberating (or both) consequences for those around them. I've been reading several of her novels - most of the ones I hadn't already read, and in most of them the dynamic is set in motion by someone who holds the others in some sort of thrall. In A Severed Head this person is a very intense woman - not attractive, not malicious (but not very nice either), just extraordinarily sharp. One might think that the characters Murdoch comes up with are laboratory experiments - too contradictory to live outside of a book's pages. But it's not what people really are, so much as how they perceive each other, which can be pretty wild!
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