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The Nice and the Good Hardcover – 1 Jan 1968
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"Iris Murdoch is incapable of writing without fascinating and beautiful colour" (The Times)
"Iris Murdoch was one of the best and most influential writers of the twentieth century" (Guardian)
"Irish Murdoch's most versitile novel, and chief among them is the pleasure which the authors take in her characters" (Country Life)
"Just as Jane Austen defines moral categories like "sense" and "sensibility" in her novels, so Iris Murdoch creates new constellations of meaning around those stand-bys of ordinary language, the nice and the good" (Atlantic) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Iris Murdoch really knows how to write, can tell a story, delineate a character, catch an atmosphere with deadly accuracy
John Betjeman --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
First published in 1968, this story of morals with its Shakespearean tones and its large cast of unusual characters, many of them trying (if not always succeeding) to be good, made an interesting and entertaining read. However, the large number of protagonists made it difficult to become fully involved in their individual personalities and personal circumstances and, at times, my belief in these people and the situations they got themselves into was put to the test - but I cannot explain fully without revealing spoilers. That said, I always enjoy Iris Murdoch's writing, her descriptions are beautifully detailed and enjoyable to read, and although this is not my favourite of her novels (and apart from the scene where Ducane and Pierce are trapped in a cave with a rising tide, I have to say that I don't feel it's one I'll remember over time) I will say that I was entertained throughout the story and for a downtime read this worked rather well.
Poor, genial Octavian is left the tedious task of investigating the incident and wastes no time in delagating it to worrisome John Ducane.
Although Ducane is introduced as the fancy man of Kate, Octavian's wife, on her terms and amongst her family of misfits and strays in Dorset, it can be argued that he is the moral centre of the novel. He navigates through the broken relationships of himself and his friends and keeps a steady hand in uncovering the truth behind the magical affairs at Whitehall.
This novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 1969 and although the writing plants it clearly in this time period, the story feels fresh and relevant still.