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The Red And The Green (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 7 Mar 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (7 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099429136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099429135
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Of all the novelists that have made their bow since the war she seems to me to be the most remarkable...behind her books one feels a power of intellect quite exceptional in a novelist" (Sunday Times)

"This is a comedy with that touch of ferocity about it which makes for excitement" (Elizabeth Jane Howard)

Book Description

Set in Ireland in 1916, on the eve of the Easter Rebellion in Dublin.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 22 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
An extended Anglo-Irish family living in the vicinity of Dublin on the eve of the Easter Rebellion of 1916 reflects the attitudes and pressures that lead eventually to the cataclysmic events at the Dublin Post Office. Andrew Chase-White, a young officer in the British Cavalry, has been assigned to Dublin, where he has often spent holidays with his extended family and where he has an almost-fiancee. His idolized cousin Patrick Dumay, "the iron man," is secretly a member of the Irish Volunteers and an admirer of Padraig Pearse. His teenaged cousin, hot-headed Cathal, supports the Citizen's Army under James Connolly.
As the action unfolds throughout the week leading to the uprising, the family interacts on several levels, revealing their mores, their dreams for the future of Ireland, their occasional tendency to look for religious significance in political destiny, and their personal hopes and failings. The story of Andrew's chaste courtship of Frances Bellman is thrown into sharp relief through the character of Millicent Kinnard, Andrew's aunt, a flamboyant and overtly sexual woman.
Millie has tempted one relative into abandoning his priestly calling, persuaded another to propose marriage to her as a way of solving her financial problems, and worked her wiles on her chaste young nephews, a generation or more younger than she is. Since she has a peripheral role in the rebellion, Millie, in the absence of a single main character, connects the older and younger generations both socially and politically, acting as a linchpin of the action.
Murdoch's stunning ability to choose precisely the right word or phrase leads to memorable descriptions which enliven the story and bring the large cast of characters to life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Room for a View VINE VOICE on 20 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
Iris's historical novel The Red and the Green poetically submerses the reader into the thick, ominous atmosphere of pre-Easter Rising Dublin. The perpetually wet conditions and backwater feel to the city embraces the main protagonists, who are often rain soaked and distanced from international events. Although, as Iris reminds us, at the time many Irish men were losing their lives for the British Empire. The author's rich tapestry of factual detail (she refers to leading members of the 1916 Rising and the political organisations that supported their nationalist agenda) haunts the complex web of relationships between sisters, aunts, nephews and cousins.

To some extent the characters are stock Murdoch each with their own existential conflicts. For instance the internally tortured, failed priest (Barney Dumay) who, unhappy and often drunk, avoids regular contact with his wife (Kathleen) and is unable to form an outwardly loving relationship with his step sons (Pat and Cathal). Barney's inner turmoil is fuelled by a passionate unspoken love for the emotionally extravagant Millie (his sister-in-law), which reduces him to unspoken submissive adoration. In a humorous passage Barney, contemplating a photographer's advertisement, considers owning a life size picture of Millie, which he would have to keep safe under his mattress! The beautiful, sexually charged Millie has a very powerful position in the novel.

Ultimately the plot progresses towards the preparations for armed conflict and it is this aspect of the novel that drives forward the narrative.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "rd99" on 2 July 2003
Format: Paperback
These are the two words which best sum up this novel for me: atmospheric. Evocative. It's some months now since I first read this novel, and to be honest I can remember little of its plot. What really gripped me about this book was Iris Murdoch's powers of description - the settings she describes leap off the page. The old country houses and rain-soaked Dublin streets of this novel will haunt your imagination... This is always Murdoch's strength, as anyone who has read her other works such as "The Philosopher's Pupil" will know. In this novel, it wasn't the plot that captivated me. Neither was it the existential drama which some reviews I've seen have focused on; no - what makes this book for me is the setting. Iris Murdoch was clearly in love with Ireland, and it shows here. If you'd like to be immersed in the Easter Rising and drenched by the Irish rain, you could do a lot worse than read this novel.
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