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.
I posted this on my 75 thread, but I loved this passage enough to post it here too.:
Demoyte's books were all behind glass, so that the room was full of reflections. Demoyte was a connoisseur of books. Mor, who was not, had long ago been barred from the library. Mor liked to tear a book apart as he read it, breaking the back, thumbing and turning down the pages, commenting and underlining. He liked to have his books close to him, upon a table, upon the floor, at least upon open shelves. Seeing the so near and so destroyed, he could feel that they were now almost inside his head. Demoyte's books seemed a different kind of entity. Yet he liked to see them too, elegant, stiff and spotless, gilded and calved, books to be gently held in the hand and admired, and which recalled to mind the fact of which Mor was usually oblivious that a book is a thing and not just a collection of thoughts.
Is it that I am 'getting' Iris Murdoch, or is it that I am (accidentally) choosing novels that I like better? It hardly matters, but I found this one hard to put down. It's hot, early summer and a young woman, already known as an accomplished painter, comes to do the portrait of the lately retired headmaster of St. Bride's, Demoyte. Bill Mor, a schoolmaster (and clearly one of the good ones) is among the first invited to meet her and they have an odd an intense encounter at Demoyte's house, Brayling Close, - which is as always to be found in an IM novel - a remarkable and beautiful house. They fall madly in love - for Mor a world of possibility is opened, a world he never imagined. He has always been dominated by his wife, a strong shrewd woman, and he sees now that he could break out.... so will he? He has two children that he misunderstands, a good friend that he doesn't know as well as he thinks he does, in fact Mor lives in a kind of fog, that lifts under the influence of the young painter (interestingly named Rain Carter). Everything comes to a head in the last quarter of the book and for me it was vivid and unputdownable. I'm rating it highly as I feel that every aspect of what goes into a good novel is at a high level, theme, character, momentum - there is also that hint of mystery - done with a very light hand here. The 'question' under consideration is when is love, especially 'being in love' not enough? Another question is what 'face' do we present to the world? Our real one or the one we wish it was? Yet another, can we read, in our own action or inaction, our true wishes, our true natures? I should also add that there was a good deal of humor - the boys at the school are lovingly described, as are the master ept and inept alike, the new headmaster is a worthy man but cheap and clumsy and this leads to farce upon occasion. I laughed out loud several times and chuckled many others. *****
Whereas the real teacher cares only for one thing, that the matter should be understood; and into that process he vanishes.
Eccentric people, he concluded, were good for conventional people, simply because they made them able to conceive of everything being quite different.
Who is worthy to understand another person?
Very distantly the traffic rumbled upon the main road. But here the silence hung in the air like an odour.
"You can't behave anyhow to people and expect them to love you just the same!" said Nan to Felicity.
"That's just what I do expect," said Felicity, sulkily, and went back into her badroom.
Mor, overhearing this exchange from downstairs, though, she is right, that is just what we do expect."
The real pain after all was not that the world had fallen into little pieces. That was a relief from pain. It was rather that the world remained, whole, ordinary, and relentlessly to be lived in.
In ordinary life all her talk with Bill was planed down into simple familiarly recurring units. Any conversation which she might have with him was of so familiar a type that they might have talked it in their sleep. This was one of the things that made marriage so restful. But from now on all speech between them would have to be invented.
The curtains were pulled in Demoyte's bedroom. Their faded colourless lining closed the window like a dead eye-lid.
I really like your insight into her books Lucy. Much appreciated and many thanx; you too Liz.
So far I have only read two of hers this year but I came to the group late I think. I first read Henry and Cato and then Something Special: A Story; a lovely little novella. I am still hoping to be able to get to one a month or one every two months.
I have really enjoyed the interaction within this group but I find it sad that there are no more of us than are here. Iris is such a worthy 'opponent'.
The children didn't seem all that weird to me (I wonder if I should worry?!!!), and I thought that her handling of Mor's relationship to his son throughout was excellent.
I was, in fact, a weird kid.....
I liked the sermons, talks etc. in here and was impressed with how Iris wove them in.
Thank you Belva.
Regarding the oeuvre as a whole, I was interested to find that my favourites fall across the spectrum - A Severed Head, A Fairly Honourable Defeat, The Philosopher's Pupil, The Book and the Brotherhood and The Green Knight being three particular favourites. My two least favourites, An Unofficial Rose and Bruno's Dream are fairly mid-period though. Not sure what that says, really! I do like The Sandcastle too, actually ...
I've been off the track for some while doing various things that left me reading, but not writing at all.
I never give up on a book - - no matter how tedious or tendentious - - I plough on to the very end.
Frankly, if we all were to take your line ("..why you kept on reading it..") then there would be only positive feedback/review on any tome as no one would complete something as challenging as a book such as Murdoch's 'The Sandcastle'.
I disagree re, "book was no good. You. Just. You.": I think a whole lot of people would find it equally dreary and dreadful prose: It was a stinker - - I've read widely over 60+ years and it ranks among the most pitiful contributions to literature I have ever had the displeasure to come across - - "writers at Murdoch's level", you say, well she fell well short with that early work and hats-off to the Agent who saw through such a literal and literary deluge of pompous insipidity to grasp there was a great talent in there somewhere (hidden deeper than anything I could divine).
PS: I love all foods and apart from an allergy to mashed potato (! yes, I know, weird!) I eat all foods and am pretty much the same with books, i.e. from Gorky's Mother to Toffler's Future Shock with Spike Milligan to Le Carre in between, so I do not feel I was in a dudgeon so much as confounded by some of the most appallingly trivialised word production I had ever come across.
Cheers, hope 2015 goes well for you!