Top positive review
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Well written account of a fascinating life
on 16 June 2010
This book transformed my idea of Iris Murdoch, in whom I had not previously shown much interest, and made me regret that I had paid so little attention to her when she was alive.
It was interesting to me because I am interested in philosophy, don't mind a lot of exposure (occasionally) to what the Oxbridge elite are up to, am quite interested by the philosopher/novelist combination, and despite those dusty credentials, not at all put of by a colourful love life.
My impression, somewhat tendentiously perhaps, is of a woman who dedicated her whole life to her career as a novelist (her philosophy was I feel a junior but integral partner), to an extent which I had not imagined possible.
Not because she slaved away at it 24/7, but because I got the impression that the very rich and interesting social and sexual side of her life was all research for her novels (not specific but general background).
She was emotionally promiscuous, falling in love with a startling number of people, which is much more interesting than mere sexual promiscuity, and love perhaps was the central theme of her fiction.
Philosophically, one of her central themes was morality, the good.
One thing this book did not do for me (nor any other) was give me any comprehension of her conception of the good which was consistent with her life, her novels, and her philosophical writings.
She remains to me an enigma, which will probably never be dispelled (as to her philosophical views).
I do not write book reviews (does it show?), this is my third book review at amazon.
I do it only for books which have had real impact upon me, and this was one of them.
And I enjoyed reading it too.