A work of coruscating moral brilliance, The Nice and the Good revolves around a happily married couple, Kate and Octavian, and the friends of all ages attached to their house in Dorset. The novel deals with love in its many aspects, as embodied in a fascinating array of characters. The resonant sub plot involves murder and black magic in Whitehall, as the novel leads us through stress and terror to a profoundly joyous conclusion.
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(198mm x 128mm x 24mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
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US Kirkus Review »
Not long ago Iris Murdoch wrote an article in the Royal Journal of Philosophy to the effect that ethical studies must be postponed until we know more about psychology. Here she harps on both strings, playing with a florid variety of temperaments and consciences, as embodied in sybarites, penitents, con men, spirited and dispirited women, adolescents, a Dachau survivor, an occultist, and a neo-Calvinist hero investigating the suicide of his Foreign Office colleague. Intricacies of theme are amplified by intricacies of plot, which gains a real momentum, though never providing the suspense of The Unicorn or the irony of The Severed Head. The author's aggressively adjectival, over-interpretive voice rarely subsides... but then when she leaves her characters alone they say things like "'You've got to relive this thing, Paula, and not just for Eric but for yourself.'" It's decidedly second-rate Murdoch, pretentious and sententious; still, as a big, curl-uppable-with, very novelistic novel (not so easy to come by these days, after all) it will more than meet the demand. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Iris Murdoch
Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin in 1919 of Anglo-Irish parents. She went to Badminton School, Bristol, and read classics at Somerville College, Oxford. During the war she was an Assistant Principal at the Treasury, and then worked with UNRRA in London, Belgium and Austria. She held a studentship in philosophy at Newnham College, Cambridge, and then in 1948 she returned to Oxford, where she became a Fellow of St Anne's College. Until her death in February 1999, she lived with her husband, the teacher and critic John Bayley, in Oxford. Awarded the CBE in 1976, Iris Murdoch was made a DBE in the 1987 New Year's Honours List. In the 1997 PEN Awards she received the Gold Pen for Distinguished Service to Literature. Iris Murdoch made her writing debut in 1954 with Under the Net, and went on to write twenty-six novels, including the Booker prize-winning The Sea, The Sea (1978). Other literary awards include the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Black Prince (1973) and the Whitbread Prize (now the Costa Book Award) for The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (1974). Her works of philosophy include Sartre: Romantic Rationalist, Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (1992) and Existentialists and Mystics (1997) She wrote several plays including The Italian Girl (with James Saunders) and The Black Prince, adapted from her novels of the same name. She died in February 1999.