Iris Murdoch (Pdf / ebook) The Italian Girl


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The Italian Girl

S homecoming tips a precariously balanced dynamic into sudden chaos The Italian Girl is Murdoch’s compelling story of a man’s reunion with his estranged family and of the tragedy that shocks them all into confronting their dark pas Iris Murdoch s The Italian Girl reads like a cross between a Victoria Holt Gothic romance and a glimpse of a Holden Caulfield still clueless self centered and easily offended at forty something The protagonist and narrator Edmund Narraway returns home for the funeral of his domineering and destructive mother Lydia after years away Still living at the dark gloomy family mansion are Edmund s alcoholic philandering brother Otto Otto s neurotic wife Isabel their beautiful but reckless teenage daughter Flora and the Italian au pair Maggie who stayed on even as Flora outgrew her the eponymous Italian girl In the novel s 171 pages the Narraway family seeks fulfillment both sexual and emotional in the absolutely most destructive ways I don t want to give too much away but let s just say that Otto s Russian twenty something apprentice David Levkin and Levkin s promiscuous sister Elsa don t make matters any better for the dysfunctional Narraway clan While their famous father was an artist Edmund is an engraver and Otto is a stone mason Published in 1964 The Italian Girl seems dated even for that time period the effete Edmund reminds me of an over refined English mama s boy in a 1920s PG Wodehouse novel while his monstrous brother could play the murder victim who s begging to be killed in a Dorothy L Sayers or Agatha Christie novel From this book while atmospheric and containing some beautifully turned phrases I just don t get what led millions to love Murdoch s novels The Italian Girl reminded me of the 1960s cult classic Dark Shadows all dark oppressive atmosphere and melodrama but the Narraway family has none of the fun in its dysfunction Despite some emotional fireworks an unconvincing ending and long stretches of tedium make The Italian Girl a three star read

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A family struggles for redemption after a funeral brings dark secrets to the surface in this novel from the Man Booker Prize–winning author of The Sea The SeaThe funeral of Edward’s mother brings him home for the first time in year Notes to self1 Read a book a couple of weeks ago Turned out it was about Alzheimer s2 Cannot remember the title or story of note 13 Read another book last week Turned out it had a character who suffered dementia4 Cannot remember that title or story either of note 35 Current author developed Alzheimer sReviewA short and absorbing tale that takes place in Northern England Murdoch was an established and honored and prolific author She wrote beautifully And is now dead This story is told by a solitary 30 40 ish year old man who is not aware of what he does not have but carries a sense of emptiness He reestablishes a relationship with his brother and his brother s dysfunctional household It is to be a temporary visit Their mother despised by both sons has died and the story begins at the funeral for the motherA beautiful and realistic account that pushes all the right buttons for this reader Philosophy irony miscommunications between its characters love reflection redemption loss interesting dialogue empathy or lack of compromise some angst and tension trials between family members the intrusion of outsiders the casual assaults by youth and Recommended for we who acknowledge our fractured lives Any further uestions will not be answered by this reader who will have forgotten the story momentarily The Secret Treasons in this novel from the Man Booker Prize–winning author of The Sea The SeaThe funeral of Edward’s mother brings him home for the first time مريض الوهم in year Notes to self1 Read a book a couple of weeks ago Turned out The Hypochondriacs Guide To Life And Death it was about Alzheimer s2 Cannot remember the title or story of note 13 Read another book last week Turned out ¡Arde Troya! (Las aventuras de Ogú, Mampato y Rena, it had a character who suffered dementia4 Cannot remember that title or story either of note 35 Current author developed Alzheimer sReviewA short and absorbing tale that takes place Doctor y campeón in Northern England Murdoch was an established and honored and prolific author She wrote beautifully And La corruptrice is now dead This story Sweet for Her (Sweet Curves is told by a solitary 30 40 The Purpose-Guided Universe ish year old man who The Abel & Cole Veg Box Companion is not aware of what he does not have but carries a sense of emptiness He reestablishes a relationship with his brother and his brother s dysfunctional household It The Academy is to be a temporary visit Their mother despised by both sons has died and the story begins at the funeral for the motherA beautiful and realistic account that pushes all the right buttons for this reader Philosophy Full Dark, No Stars irony miscommunications between If Only Once (The Martelli Brothers, its characters love reflection redemption loss 1000 sitios que ver en España al menos una vez en la vida interesting dialogue empathy or lack of compromise some angst and tension trials between family members the La ética de la crueldad intrusion of outsiders the casual assaults by youth and Recommended for we who acknowledge our fractured lives Any further uestions will not be answered by this reader who will have forgotten the story momentarily

Iris Murdoch Ä 7 Free read

S Though his return rekindles his affection for his childhood home it also triggers a resurgence of the family tensions that caused him to leave in the first place As Edward becomes tangled in his family’s web of corrosive secrets hi A short Gothic drama about hedonism versus the ethical life this was my seventh Murdoch novel and alas one of the less memorable ones along with An Unofficial Rose and The Black Prince Narrator Edmund Narraway an engraver in his forties arrives at the family home a Victorian rectory in the North one moonlit night shortly after his mother s death He s locked out but fortunately there s another night prowler about who can let him in David Levkin the apprentice to Edmund s drunken stonemason brother OttoEdmund finds his mother Lydia s body laid out on her bed and recalls the almost Oedipal relationships she had with him and his brother Hints of incest are also there in Edmund s infatuation with his niece Flora while various characters are in love or lust with David and his peculiar sister Elsa who both live in the property s summer house As in A Severed Head the language of possession marks these shifting bonds as unhealthy and obsessiveMurdoch often sets up stark dichotomies between characters and situations and here Otto and Edmund serve as the two poles Otto s Gothic you know his wife Isabel says to Edmund He is the north He s primitive gross In contrast Edmund clings to the narrow way as his surname suggests of morality taking a hard line on his niece s ethical dilemma and largely avoiding the sexual temptations that come his way You are a good man Isabel tells him You are the assessor the judge the inspector the liberator You will clear us all up I found this setup a little too simplistic the brothers are also referred to by the shorthand of wet lipped and dry lipped and the generalizing about Jews that bothered me in A Severed Head is worse here there s a whole chapter entitled Two Kinds of Jew Given the title I was unsure what role Maggie the latest in Lydia s series of Italian servants is meant to play She s virtually speechless until the final chapter and seems most like a nunA surprise will a fire and an interlude in an enchanted wood keep things moving along uickly and it s Murdoch s shortest novel almost what you d call novella length But this mostly felt to me like an unnecessary reprise of A Severed Head and perhaps The Unicorn which I haven t read but know has a very Gothic atmosphereOriginally published on my blog Bookish Beck


10 thoughts on “The Italian Girl

  1. says:

    I read this a few weeks back and it still lingers in my mind I very seldom come back and change a rating but did

  2. says:

    What is the term euivalent to white trash for the Brits Well I don't know but here is a menagerie rife with those interesting yet devastatingly bleak individuals they are all mad they've all taken X Beauty is such self forgetting 47 indeed and this is a brilliant and breathtaking family portrait so very post Victorian Jerry Springer filthiness First off the strongly redolent very judgmental narrator and weaklin

  3. says:

    Notes to self1 Read a book a couple of weeks ago Turned out it was about Alzheimer’s2 Cannot remember the title or story of note #13 Read another book last week Turned out it had a character who suffered dementia4 Cannot remember that title or story either of note #35 Current author developed Alzheimer’sReviewA short and absorbing tale

  4. says:

    At 171 pages this practically a novella but it packs a lot of emotion into those pages and although it's an earl

  5. says:

    This is Iris Murdoch's eighth novel I have been reading her novels in order of publication and become uite a fan She brings a philosophical bent to her fiction Though the next book for me would have been The Unicorn one of my reading

  6. says:

    A short Gothic drama about hedonism versus the ethical life this was my seventh Murdoch novel and alas one of the less memorable ones along with An Unofficial Rose and The Black Prince Narrator Edmund Narraway an engraver in his forties arrives at the family home a Victorian rectory in the North one moonlit night shortly after his mother’s death He’s locked out but fortunately there’s another night prowler about wh

  7. says:

    Iris Murdoch’s The Italian Girl reads like a cross between a Victoria Holt Gothic romance and a glimpse of a Holden Caulfield still clueless self centered and easily offended at forty something The protagonist and narrator Edmund N

  8. says:

    What this book needs is orcs Or any orcs at all really but preferably a great horde of slavering rampaging hell bent on destruction orcs Failing that zombies would do the trick Or perhaps we could push swords into the characters’ hands and toss them into the gladiator arena Frankly they need something of the

  9. says:

    My first Iris Murdoch book and boy can she write beautifully I was transported into the book and lost myself in it

  10. says:

    The Italian Girl is the eighth in the chronological readalong of Iris Murdoch’s novels I’m participating in and one that is reminiscent of several of her earlier novels including The Unicorn and A Severed Hea

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