THE TIME OF ANGELS by Iris Murdoch


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Iris Murdoch's fiction--a new novel each year--seems to have steadily declined since A Severed Head; and in this, patently a mediocre work, she is cribbing from her earlier writing. From A Severed Head, she takes a shifting scene of sexual relations too shocking to bear--the climax reveals a lapsed priest sleeping with his daughter; and from The Unicorn, there are pages of haunted-house prose reminiscent of Shirley Jackson; and in Leo Peshkov, Miss Murdoch offers a hip young man on the make who will remind many readers of the protagonist of Under the Net. To make matters worse, her prose has become flabby--subtle perceptions are made too explicit, and certain insights are repeated; and the novel's ending is terribly feeble. The best element is the characterization of Muriel, a heavily repressed spinster who slowly becomes aware of the evil around her.

Publisher: Viking