Saturday, March 28, 2009

UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch's first novel, 1954's Under The Net, is a decent example of postwar BritLit that contains one absolutely beautiful and unexpected scene: the main characters make their way through bomb-damaged central London at night and take a surreptitious swim in the Thames. It's a wonderful early scene that the rest of the novel fails to equal, but this and a few other moments are good enough to make this little-read book worth reading. Murdoch makes the expected rookie mistakes (missed opportunities for clever plot twists, etc.), but her narrative voice is quite convincing and compelling most of the time, and there's enough comedy to keep things lively. Overall, it's a good and surprising--albeit decidedly minor--novel.

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