Under the Net

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Dan K. David S. Jane C. Skip to content. Hosted by Andy R. This is a past event 19 people went. Attendees See all. Her characters in Under the Net are almost absurdly implausible, yet all their actions and interactions are believable. They are types, unlike characters in her later novels. We have among others, a bookmaker, a movie mogul, a glamorous actress, a fireworks inventor, a singer and a left-wing activist. We have several episodes of drunken revelry, a tale of kidnap, where the intended target is most unusual , and another where a character is locked into a penthouse suite.

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There are instances of gambling on horses, and winning against all the odds, and a theft which proves to be more trouble than it was worth. We have proposed movie deals, and attempts to overthrow society.


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Many of the situations in the middle are pure farce, and the riot between Socialist agitators and the police had me laughing out loud. My favourite parts of all were the madcap escapades with Jake and his adventurous canine friend. Iris Murdoch has a wonderful way with words, and can write ridiculously humorous episodes in a most entertaining way.

We must be ruled by the situation itself and this is unutterably particular. Indeed it is something to which we can never get close enough, however hard we may try as it were to crawl under the net. View all 14 comments. Jun 09, Alex rated it really liked it Shelves: You can't spend too much time figuring Iris Murdoch out. It's better to just buckle in with her. Her characters are basically insane, and so are her plots, and so are her sentences. They have a tidal effect; they pull you under. They feature amoral protagonists in the entertainment industry, and they're both nuts.

I actually think Money is a little better. It's certainly amped up, which is startling consi You can't spend too much time figuring Iris Murdoch out.

Iris Murdoch's Under the Net

It's certainly amped up, which is startling considering how far Murdoch is already amped past mostly everyone else. She published this, her first novel, in , so just before the similarly unhinged On the Road blew up the Beats. She was Irish, and you know how Irish novelists are.


  1. Introduction & Overview of Under the Net;
  2. Topics For Further Study;
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  7. Recent discussion: "Has there ever been a sane Irish author? He kidnaps a dog.


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    He schemes to get money, while steadfastly turning down every opportunity to have it. He gets drunk. He discusses philosophy and socialism. The most memorable character is the dog. Murdoch is not my favorite author. I like her but I'm not burning to read every one of her books. I'm going to read some of them, though! They strain at the seams. She's thoroughly off on her own trip and you're not invited to participate; you may watch. She's distinct, thus the like.

    Some books are like marathons and some like sprints, and hers are like meandering chases through side streets, after which you are out of breath and sweaty and you've pulled a hamstring and you're not sure if you lost the guy chasing you or not. Nov 23, Rebecca rated it really liked it Shelves: university-library , obscure-classics , buddy-read , reviewed-for-blog. One of my favorite scenes has him accidentally locked into the theatre overnight; he has to sleep among the costumes. I connect this too with his truthfulness.

    Subtle people, like myself, can see too much ever to give a straight answer. I hate solitude, but I am afraid of intimacy. The substance of my life is a private conversation with myself which to turn into a dialogue would be equivalent to self-destruction. If like myself you are a connoisseur of solitude, I recommend to you the experience of being alone in Paris on the fourteenth of July. I think so, given her success in creating a male narrator and her focus on the world of work and less traditional domestic arrangements.

    This is my sixth Murdoch book. View all 15 comments. Description: Iris Murdoch's first novel is set in a part of London where struggling writers rub shoulders with successful bookies, and film starlets with frantic philosophers. Its hero, Jake Donaghue, is a drifting, clever, likeable young man who makes a living out of translation work and sponging on his friends.

    A meeting with Anna, an old flame, leads him into a series of fantastic adventures. Jake is captivated by a majestic philosopher, Hugo Belfounder, whose profound and inconclusive refle Description: Iris Murdoch's first novel is set in a part of London where struggling writers rub shoulders with successful bookies, and film starlets with frantic philosophers. Jake is captivated by a majestic philosopher, Hugo Belfounder, whose profound and inconclusive reflections give the book its title - under the net of language. Opening: When I saw Finn waiting for me at the corner of the street I knew at once that something had gone wrong.

    This is me trying to read all of Murdoch's oeuvre and will admit to being grateful that didn't have the bad luck to have encountered this one first. My mid-teen initiation to Murdoch in the newly sprung 70s was 'The Severed Head. The title could just have easily been 'Between the Lines' or 'Behind the Mask', nothing very deep after all. But the language use is there, such a repertoire of delicious combinations, and my quest of reading chronologically, will see IM develop. View all 7 comments. Nov 01, Hossain Salahuddin rated it it was amazing Shelves: philosophical-fiction.

    In , it was "I hate solitude, but I am afraid of intimacy. In , it was nominated by the TIME magazine as one of the greatest English-language novels from to present.

    Under the Net - Iris Murdoch

    Jake is a impoverished, rootless, aspiring young writer who also translates French novels into English for a living. At the beginning of the novel Jack and his friend Finn are thrown out of the flat they have been living rent-free for last 18 months. The owner of the flat is their female friend Madge, who is concerned that her new lover, a rich bookmaker Sammy Starfieldby, may not like her sheltering two bohemian male friends. When the French novelist Jean-Pierre Breteuil, whose rather mediocre novels Jack has been translating for a living, unexpectedly wins the prestigious Prix Goncourt award - Jake realises that his perception needs to change.

    During the course of moving from one place to another, particularly the journey between London and Paris, Jake takes a hard look at his own life, - his past, present and future, renegotiates his love life, - all from a philosophical point of view. At the end Jake realises that his literary career has only began. He is finally ready to see the world.

    The novel is an easy read, fast moving, cleverly written and subtly funny; the characters are well developed, interesting and distinct. It shows how we are trapped in a net of language, prisons created by none but us, where emotions and sentiments are inexpressible through the limited power of words, yet this exchange of ideas and dialogues is the only hope to escape from this prison.

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    Murdoch paints this struggle and contradiction vividly, and shows our inability to describe our very personal feelings in words. She rigorously explores the nature of art and how far it distances us from reality, and concludes that art and morality are one. Under the Net teaches us to appreciate the philosophical silence in the backdrop of a self-centred, chaotic, superficial city life and leads us to a greater understanding of friendship, love, art, creativity and nature of truth.

    Murdoch, Iris. Under the net, London : Vintage Books, View 2 comments. Sep 02, Aly Lawson rated it really liked it Shelves: favorites. When I read this in college our modern literature professor warned us against being hayseed critics. We need to have a basis for our criticism, a chunk of spoken reason, or thought, behind our critiques and accolades of each book we read.