Bruno's Dream

SnakIris Murdoch readers

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Bruno's Dream

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jan 8, 2013, 6:48 am

A thread for anyone who has picked up Bruno's Dream.

jan 8, 2013, 7:55 am

I read Bruno's Dream ion 2011, and just re-read my review to refresh my memory. Here's an excerpt:
Iris Murdoch has a unique take on the human condition. Her books typically feature normal, everyday people making normal, everyday decisions -- but invariably some of those decisions turn out to be stupid ones, with consequences. Most of the time, the "stupid decisions" deal with sexuality or morality. In some ways, reading Murdoch is like watching a train wreck unfold before your eyes. And yet, her books fascinate me, every single time. .... In this story, the king of stupid decisions is Danby, who lusts after anything in a skirt and feels compelled to act on his impulses. Miles isn't much better, and the two of them create fantastic situations ranging from poignant to irritating to funny. Also typical of Murdoch is the way most of the male characters are misguided and insensitive, and most of the women are rational and emotionally strong. In Bruno's Dream, the stronger women rise above everyone else to unravel the tangle caused mostly by Danby and Miles, and bring dignity to Bruno's last weeks.

jan 8, 2013, 10:06 am

I too have noted IM's fondness for her character's making stupid decisions on a whim. They drive the plot, but I have sat and wondered whether real live people ever do something so monumental as quickly as her characters do. I guess what I mean is, "I don't." I may make stupid decisions, but I think and pray and pray and think and talk, talk, talk before I commit to something.

jan 8, 2013, 10:21 am

I'm not terribly impulsive either, but I certainly know all sorts of people who are. And I have seen sort of 'slow-mo' bad decisions - I would say Michael in The Bell would be an example of that - he does something impulsive yes, but after decades of self-control - although all along, maybe he wasn't making the right choice to 'control' himself in the way he has (as in, there might have been a better way?).

That's a fine review Laura, thanks for posting it here.

jan 16, 2013, 9:34 pm

This is my first Iris Murdoch novel. I quite like her flawed people muddling through life. That's basically what myself and the rest of the people I know are like. Novels seem to have too many people that are downright evil. Also the good guys seem overly efficient. They seem to have too much commonsense, intelligence and skills. I get tired of people at work trying to be either thumbs-up or thumbs down about the other employees. Everyone's got their quirks, their
blind spots, their strengths and weaknesses. I love the sad funny mess Danby made out of the romantic cliché of going to your beloved's window at night. I have no idea how this is all going to end.

jan 17, 2013, 7:13 am

Well put, Bonnie, I think you have a very good point. While very novelly things happen (like the window cliche, or a gun mentioned the first time you enter a certain character's house, or eavesdropping and etc) and while you know the work is carefully 'crafted' it feels more organic, more messy, more as if the characters are randomly making their own choices - or something like that.

Redigeret: feb 2, 2013, 4:24 pm

I finished my first trip to Murdochia and quite enjoyed it. I admit her characters don't quite make likable but they are interesting. One or the other is usually good enough for me. Since I'm a bit Asperger'sish myself, my standards for personal interaction skills is a bit low. I liked her line "He loved her wholeheartedly but with too ordinary a heart." If I don't like a character and I feel the author is trying to force them on me as a role model, that is when I get annoyed.IM wasn't doing that. She had lots of things happening usually unexpected things. She had philosophical musings but they were interesting, didn't go on for pages and most importantly were from a character's POV. I don't like authors who come in like an omniscient voice stating how people are or ought to be. Her prose is beautiful.

feb 2, 2013, 12:56 pm

I'm intrigued by your comments and can say, even though I haven't read Bruno's Dream that so far your and my experience of IM are not dissimilar.

feb 2, 2013, 4:42 pm

Hi,sibyx. I don't own any more IM novels and I'm trying to read the books on my shelves. I will keep an eye out for IM at used book sales. Maybe I'll be back with another one this year.

Redigeret: feb 2, 2013, 6:34 pm

The great thing about the Murdoch group is that it is permanent, if you know what I mean, with interest ebbing and flowing. So I imagine whenever you come back you will find some activity.....I TOTALLY sympathize with your efforts to clear your shelves a bit - I am embarked on a similar campaign.