30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Well-written, but somewhat dated,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Bell (Vintage classics) (Paperback)
I had always been afraid of reading Iris Murdoch novels, imagining that an Oxford philosopher's fiction would be far too high-brow for me. However - I was wrong, and I would recommend this book as a good starting point for others who have yet to taste the delights of her work.
The Amazon review is a fair summary of the plot - the interest lies in watching how a newly-formed community, where the members have different levels of commitment, deal with challenges. I felt that Murdoch's sympathies lay with those who were somewhat outside the boundaries of the community, and I think she portrayed them beautifully.
The chief note of caution I would insert, however, is that the book is of its time (1958, I think - the year after the Wolfenden report recommended the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales), and I was left wondering how Murdoch would have treated her subject in 2001. But perhaps the stimulus to thought was valuable in itself!
I hope others are also tempted to try reading this novel - I imagine that anyone who has enjoyed Muriel Spark, for example, would also enjoy this author.