Dette emne er markeret som "i hvile"—det seneste indlæg er mere end 90 dage gammel. Du kan vække emnet til live ved at poste et indlæg.
Make that my April Murdoch!
BTW I didn't read this in February, can't remember why, but perhaps it should be my April Murdoch!
You are aware of the Fitzgerald quote: ""The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
Substitute 'read' for 'function'. As I said, it isn't about suspension of disbelief for me, it is about accepting, as is the case in most of the more complex novels, that human beings operate simultaneously on 'different levels.' and the novelist tries to get at the mystery of human existence in various ways. Most Murdoch books (I've read 11 or so now) have some hint of mystery, numinousness, or the occult however you want to express it, but on a scale of one to ten I would place Murdoch as about a 6 in terms of any requirement that I suspend disbelief. Those I mentioned above.... much much higher. This novel, does not strike me as particularly different from a great many others I have read.
The three young girls and Harvey as the former are examples of true innocence. Murdoch usually tosses in some inscrutable character who can turn out to be bad even evil, or ... as was true of the main character in The Sea The Sea muddleheaded to the nth degree so that they enable evil to enter in. Lucas is going to be surprising I think.
After a year and some ten or so novels of IM's ouevre, certain patterns, themes, plot twists, settings have, by now, come to be expected and indeed cherished. A close knit group of people are disturbed, usually by the intrusion of a new person, but sometimes by a violent event (in this case both), and during the upheaval, people 'act out of character' - (or is it more IN character?), secrets are revealed (or not revealed but guessed at), the numinous is hinted at, the ending is usually satisfactory as in the comedic meaning of the word where the right people usually end up together and those who die, must die. Dogs and cats if missing, are found. Most of the action takes place indoors with the exception of wild country settings which are almost always close to the sea (although not always). The houses in which the stories take place are always interesting and always meticulously described with Nabokovian particularity and these houses and flats, grand or grubby, have characters of their own which influence outcomes too. Murdoch also always stops to tell you what people are wearing (always so much nicer than anything I ever wear, even in this novel which dates from the early 90's just before her Alzheimer's began incapacitating her). Everything matters, everything in the universe is slightly animate, not just the obviously living: dogs, people, spiders, and plants, but the things we consider inanimate: cars, houses, rocks, even walking canes. And everything lives in relation to everything else and the longer they have rubbed together the more connected they are if for no other reason than proximity. This novel features an attempted fratricide, the intervention of a man who returns from the dead, three young women on the verge of adulthood, their mother who is a widow, a young man who has badly broken his foot and feels his life is ruined..... they are all related or part of a social group that has more or less simply happened and, in the nature of things, become connected through simply hanging about together so long. This novel, I think considered the last fully coherent one, has an odd edge to it, and I wonder if Iris was feeling the slippage.... there is no bitterness, only a feeling of impending loss, hard to explain, perhaps it is embedded in the imagery of the title The Green Knight a valiant young man meeting his inevitable destiny with bravery. Oh Iris, you were wise and strange and wonderful! I am greatly enjoying reading your work and thank you for it. ****
(I welcome recommendations from anyone in this thread, but sibyx indicates a nice breadth of reading which prompted the request.)
What I have found is that Murdoch more or less writes the same novel over and over in lighter and darker shades....always examining the ways good and evil manifest in lives lived. She also uses the same motifs: a special and fondly described house or houses mostly in either seaside or London locales, but not always. Swimming, rocks, significant pets and children .... letter-writing.... Most novels are never quite fully tragic or fully comical, but they vary widely in mood. The darker ones can be very uncomfortable reading indeed. I would characterize The Sea, the Sea as falling into that category as well as The Black Prince. Others are almost lighthearded - The Sandcastle for example. The rest fall in between. There are the manipulators and the manipulated..... the naive and the canny, the wise and the fools..... and so on.
The two that have been the most 'fun' to read (just my own taste here) were The Good Apprentice and The Sandcastle. The Bell my second read, was also very compelling to me. I rather loathed The Sea, the Sea.
So interesting, your reaction to The Sea, the Sea -- simply because it's probably the title I hear / read about most frequently, and it might be implied to be a good one to start with. But I'd rather not my first taste be one of loathing.