Iris Murdoch, born today in 1919

Maybe not as fashionable an author as she once was, Iris Murdoch’s novels vary in style but the themes are constant -Wikipaedia says ‘there’s often an upper-middle-class male intellectual caught in moral dilemmas, gay characters, refugees, Anglo-Catholics with crises of faith, empathetic pets, curiously “knowing” children and sometimes a powerful and almost demonic male “enchanter” who imposes his will on the other characters’

She was awarded the Booker Prize in 1978 for The Sea, the Sea, a finely detailed novel about the power of love and loss, featuring a retired stage director, Charles Arrowby.

At 60+, a  demi-god of the theatre, Charles retires from his glittering London world in order to become a hermit, and it is to the sea that he turns. He hopes at least to escape from the women. He unexpectedly meets one whom he loved long ago and is overwhelmed by jealousy when he meets his erstwhile lover after several decades apart.

Under the Net, was selected in 1998 as one of Modern Library’s 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. More books by and about her. Murdoch died in 1999

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