Saved from a delinquent childhood by education, cheated out of Oxford by a tragic love tangle, Hilary Burde cherishes his obsessive guilt and ekes out a living in a dull civil service job.
When the man whom he has harmed and betrayed reappears as head of his department, Hilary hopes for forgiveness, even for redemption and a new life, but finds himself haunted by a ghostly repetition.
Deeply moving and entertaining
The readability of a novel like A Word Child is almost appallingly powerful
It would be difficult to speak too highly of the extraordinary skill and confidence here displayed
From the beginning of her career, Iris Murdoch seemed to enlarge the possibilities in front of the English novel. She was a writer of wonderful, and sometimes rather alarming idiosyncrasy... Hers was a liberating and a generous imagination
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!