Full of suspense, humor, and symbolism, this magnificently crafted and magical novel replays biblical and medieval themes in contemporary London. An attempt by the sharp, feral, and uncommonly intelligent Lucas Graffe to murder his sensual and charismatic half-brother Clement is interrupted by a stranger—whom Lucas strikes and leaves for dead. When the stranger mysteriously reappears, with specific demands for reparation, the Graffes’ circle of idiosyncratic family and friends is disrupted—for the demands are bizarre, intrusive, and ultimately fatal.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Twists, turns, surprises abound in the plot. Meanwhile the novel whirls around the mythic, eternal themes of fraternal love-hate, the meaning of family, death and renewal. And, like Shakespeare's late Romances, there are lots of surprise romantic pairings to tie it all up. One of Murdoch's best.
I have read both the editorial and customer reviews of this novel and admit to being perplexed. I agree with the reviewer that said the novel was hard to get into....in fact, after falling asleep over the first section several times, I resorted to searching local libraries until I found the audio version of the novel on 16 cassetes! That got me into the story in a flash and then I was hooked....until I got to the numerous fantastical elements of what was already a marginally plausible plot. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Peter Mir and his quest for justice as well as friendship with Lucas' family and friends. I held out hope of Peter's success, but the story that resulted is very far from any I had in my head. I was left shaking my head in dismay.
One of the customer reviews refers to an interview with Iris Murdoch regarding her beginning-middle-ending philosophy of literature. I too would like to have a novel tied up better than many modern novels are,...
You can't miss with Murdoch.
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