Customer Reviews


13 Reviews
5 star:
 (10)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An utterly compelling mix of darkness and light!
This novel transfixed me from start to finish! The complex and delicately interwoven plot moves smoothly through philosophical insights, emotional turmoil and, despite the dark overtones of the story, it contains some farcical humour which made me laugh out loud. The story works on so many levels that you'll probably want to read it several times to grasp its many...
Published on 20 July 2001 by parlinais

versus
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
Haven't been able to read more than few pages. The narrative and dialogues are not for my taste: uninteresting, dull, colourless, slow, wearisome, unpolished.
Published 23 months ago by Blue


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An utterly compelling mix of darkness and light!, 20 July 2001
This review is from: A Fairly Honourable Defeat (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
This novel transfixed me from start to finish! The complex and delicately interwoven plot moves smoothly through philosophical insights, emotional turmoil and, despite the dark overtones of the story, it contains some farcical humour which made me laugh out loud. The story works on so many levels that you'll probably want to read it several times to grasp its many implications - the first time I read it I was so captivated by the charisma of the characters (ice-cold Julius, aloof Axel and muddled Morgan in particular) that the philosophy pretty much passed me by, but it's well worth digging into this book several times; I keep finding new things to think about on each re-read. Despite the fact that there are some very cynical messages put over by the plot, it manages not to become depressing, and because there are several layers of characters, the overall atmosphere is one of bitter-sweetness, which satisfies in several different ways, not just the obvious. If you're looking for a one-dimensional, linear storyline, this is certainly not for you, but there are enough shocks along the way to keep most people turning the pages. As well as all this, the setting of the book is fantastic - there's a really atmospheric feeling of summer which creates the perfect backdrop for the increasing madnesses and deceptions which take place. It's done so well that the depths of cruelty shown by the characters at times completely drew me in, and my sympathies ended up in some very surprising places! The characters are anything but ordinary, yet this didn't stop me identifying with them. Overall, I couldn't recommend this book more! I think it would appeal particularly to people who also enjoyed 'The Black Prince', 'The Sacred and Profane Love Machine' and 'An Accidental Man' because the relationships work in similar ways, that is, by a series of delusions and false perceptions. If anything, 'A Fairly Honourable Defeat' does this more overtly, and leaves less for the reader to decide, which in my opinion makes it more accessible than the others - it's a matter of taste, but this is definitely one of my favourites.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vanity and happiness don't mix!!!!, 22 Mar. 2006
By 
Room for a View - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Fairly Honourable Defeat (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
The story begins with the happily married Rupert and Hilda celebrating their wedding anniversary, supping champagne and enjoying their recently installed swimming pool. They are joined by the hilarious, although somewhat less contented couple Axel and Simon. But is this suburban idyll merely an elaborate facade? Iris proceeds to rip apart their illusion of love and happiness, planting the mischievous Julius and the unstable Morgan (his ex lover) in their midst. Added to this intricate maze of human emotion is Morgan's estranged husband, Tallis, who lives with his caustic father and Hilda and Rupert's nihilistic son, in a beautifully realised London hovel. The plot thickens with intrigue, forced falsehoods and manipulated misunderstandings, resulting in a cascade of humour and heart wrenching sadness: the remarkable birthday dinner and the pink teddy bear incident and the perils of a back garden pool. Ultimately the story centres on the pursuit of 'goodness' and the desire for humans to love and be loved. And Iris excels with these themes for she shows that vanity is ultimately the insurmountable obstacle to perfect happiness. Best we understand our limitations and be honest with our failings. As Laclos said vanity and happiness don't mix! A truely wonderful tale.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fairly Honourable Defeat, 14 July 2013
This review is from: A Fairly Honourable Defeat (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
I've read many of Iris Murdoch's novels, and I have to say that this is one of my favourites (on a par with 'The Bell'). It contains a host of typical Murdoch characters (the wayward and quite frankly bonkers woman, the homosexual couple, the intellectuals) but is in parts ruder and more coarse than various of her other books. I frequently found myself with an overwhelming urge to interrupt whoever else was in the room in order to read sections aloud; parts are pretty amusing.

As with some of her other novels, there are bits which seem odd or rather implausible. Hardened Murdoch fans should not be put off! If you haven't read any Murdoch before, this may not be the place to start (I would recommend 'The Bell', personally) but having said that, the writing is absolutely incredible, so rich and original, and I'm sure you'd enjoy it regardless. It is not a short novel, but there is not necessarily a positive correlation between the number of pages and time taken to complete - I tore through it simply because it's so unbelievably engrossing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Iris, Dear Iris, 4 Jun. 2011
This review is from: A Fairly Honourable Defeat (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
I first read this book over 30 years ago at university, and it remains one of my favourite Iris Murdoch novels.
Many of her 'normal' themes are there- appearance, deception, manipulation, eccentricity, characters who never seem to go to work.
Was life like this in the 1970s?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars As good as expected, 7 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As eloquent as expected and a story that takes you on a personal journey through your emotions. High expectations from Iris and she never let's me down.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A novel plus, 28 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As always with Iris Murdoch, and intricate web of relationships woven around a deep philosophy for life and food for thought
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Top class Murdoch, 25 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Iris doing her character study once more: attacking the issue of what constitutes evil. Her mystic representation fascinating: why do the insects quieten when Julius is present?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 25 Aug. 2013
This review is from: A Fairly Honourable Defeat (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
This book is gripping. It has a great plot and works on many levels. I read it as a comment on the Third Reich and how people can be manipulated very easily to their detriment and to those around them, doing things that they cannot morally justify.A great book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars ... a chance to read yet but if its as good as the others It will be, 16 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Fairly Honourable Defeat (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
not a chance to read yet but if its as good as the others It will be fine
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 18 April 2012
This review is from: A Fairly Honourable Defeat (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
I don't need to summarise the plot as others have done it beautifully. I just wanted to say MY GOD! Great plot, writing, ideas, black humour, twist at the end. This has it all! Get this book - you will not regret it. I absolutely love it (although like all Murdoch's books, it is a slow burner at the beginning).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Fairly Honourable Defeat (Vintage Classics)
A Fairly Honourable Defeat (Vintage Classics) by Iris Murdoch (Paperback - 25 April 2002)
£8.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews