Discover Murdoch’s wonderful writing in this compelling story of a young woman and an unusual religious lay community.
A lay community of thoroughly mixed-up people is encamped outside Imber Abbey, home to an enclosed order of nuns. A new bell, legendary symbol of religion and magic, is rediscovered. Dora Greenfield, erring wife, returns to her husband. Michael Mead, leader of the community, is confronted by Nick Fawley, with whom he had disastrous homosexual relations, while the wise old Abbess watches and prays and exercises discreet authority. And everyone, or almost everyone, hopes to be saved whatever that may mean... Iris Murdoch's funny and sad novel is about religion, the fight between good and evil and the terrible accidents of human frailty.
"Her novels evoked beautifully the atmosphere of the country gardens (The Bell, 1958) or the mysterious London streets (The Time of the Angels, 1968) in which they were set, with their characters engaged in intriguing love relationships, from the totally innocent to the wholly weird."
"Of all the novelists that have made their bow since the war she seems to me to be the most remarkable-behind her books one feels a power of intellect quite exceptional in a novelist"
"A tragi-comic masterpiece... A magnificent novel"
With a bank holiday approaching and no open pubs in sight, Rob Crossan rounds up the finest literary ones to indulge in, instead.
Funny, subversive, fearless and fiercely intelligent, Iris Murdoch was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. To celebrate the centenary of her birth, here's our guide to help you pick which Murdoch book to read first – or last!