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This is much better in the sense that it is gripping
on 31 March 2015
I've made several attempts to read various Murdoch novels. The Sea The Sea, which was a Booker Prize winner, I thought unreadable. This is much better in the sense that it is gripping, but gripping like a nightmare. Everyone in the book is an over-wrought, over-emotional adolescent;no one has ever grown up.
It's like a latter day Wuthering Heights, a sort of melodrama with no colour except black allowed. Murdoch's cloistered Oxford life comes out in imagining her working class hero could possibly be called Hilary and it is entirely unconvincing (though good as a piece of plotting) that having destroyed his own life by falling in love with a friend's wife, Hilary should repeat the trick with the same man's second wife.
Odd too that the book is called A Word Child because if there is one thing this is not about it is words: it's all about overblown emotion Where are the jokes? I longed for the different characters actually to be different, not slightly differing aspects of the same nightmare figure.