Group Read, July 2018: Under The Net

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Group Read, July 2018: Under The Net

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1puckers
jul 1, 2018, 3:00 pm

Our group read for July is Iris Murdoch’s Under The Net. Please join in the read and post any comments on this thread.

2annamorphic
jul 2, 2018, 2:33 pm

Started this yesterday and am enjoying it a lot. Murdoch has such a distinctive style of writing. I gather that this is her first novel and it's more self-consciously funny than the others I've read, even a slight touch of P.G. Wodehouse or Evelyn Waugh maybe? It's a particular style of early/mid 20th-century English comic writing and a particular kind of male narrator. In any event, so far it seems to be a perfect summer read.

3japaul22
jul 5, 2018, 8:26 pm

I'll be starting this in a day or two. I've read two other novels by Murdoch, The Bell and The Sea, The Sea. Both of them I liked but found more intriguing than enjoyable.

4puckers
jul 6, 2018, 8:15 am

As >2 annamorphic: mentioned, this is a very readable novel, and I too had hints of Waugh/Wodehouse in the more farcical sections. I'm not so enamoured with the central character/narrator, Jake Donaghue. Some might see him as an idealist/dreamer whereas for me his was an impractical fool, turning down opportunities for work and drinking away the few pounds he has to his name at any time. I did enjoy the novel though and rate it 3.5/5.

5gypsysmom
jul 8, 2018, 5:50 pm

I think mine has finally come in to my library but I can't pick it up until tomorrow. Then it will be my next read.

6japaul22
jul 11, 2018, 8:33 pm

I'm about half-way through and a little annoyed. It's just so ridiculous - who acts like this? I like the writing, but it is just becoming more and more zany and I'm losing interest.

7japaul22
jul 13, 2018, 7:52 am

>6 japaul22: So I came around and ended up getting back into the story. I still thought that Jake's ridiculous reactions to events were too out-there to let me connect to the story, but I do love Murdoch's craft of writing. I've read 3 of Murdoch's list books (The Bell and The Sea, the Sea and Under the Net) and I'll probably read her others even though I've been on the fence about all of them.

8gypsysmom
jul 13, 2018, 4:07 pm

>7 japaul22: I'm about half-way through now and I have to admit that Jake and his friends aren't like people I've ever met. But perhaps intellectuals in the 1950s in England did act like this. I am somewhat annoyed by the discussions of philosophical schools that assume the reader has studied philosophy and knows what the various terms mean. I'm a fairly educated person but my studies were in more practical fields.

9annamorphic
jul 13, 2018, 4:12 pm

Getting toward the end of this and totally enjoying it as a kind of cross between Bertie Wooster and Martin Amis’s Money. Just delightfully zany. I’m sure it’s not meant to be taken very seriously as a depiction of some real type of person; more a spoof, a comedy. Excellent beach reading!

10gypsysmom
jul 15, 2018, 2:16 pm

Finished the book and, aside from the philosophical discussions, I quite liked it. It was funnier than I expected Iris Murdoch to be but then I haven't read anything else by her. My introduction to her was through her husband's book Elegy for Iris. Bayley was very in love with Iris and also impressed with her intellect. So I expected someone intellectual to be quite serious. Glad I read this and I think I must keep an eye out for some of her other books.

11Deern
jul 17, 2018, 7:56 am

I was off LT and most reading for a month, but somehow managed to get through last month's GR. A Murdoch should be doable, just downloaded it and will start today.