The first Iris Murdoch novel I’ve read that makes me consider her as my favorite writer. I don’t really know if I’m going to consider her as a gothic author for fear of associating her with V.C. Andrews (though I don’t despise the latter) but that is the feeling I get whenever I read a Murdoch novel. Murdoch writes with prose that makes you look on your shoulders before continuing. There’s nothing terrifying about this novel but it’s weird that I feel I have to make sure no one’s beside me that might scare me without meaning to.
The story is about Edmund Narraway, an engraver, who returns to his house in northern England for the funeral of his recently deceased mother. By this, Edward starts to recall his mother’s cruelty which makes him think that when there’s something bitter and dark in his life, her mother’s into it. As just to attend the funeral, Edward starts to realize that he is involved with his relatives entangled problems, deceit and false pretence.
While on the brink of leaving and not wanting to be involved, (for he feels that the more he stay’s the more he’s likely to be in danger) Edmund feels he is much needed by all of them. With the lack of courage to just forget about them, Edmund still has his concerns and sympathy.
One thing i didn’t quite understand is why should the Italian Girl, (the nurse whom both Edmund and his brother consider as their guardian since both of their parents are so irresponsible and is not much involved in their upbringing) be the title of the novel since she only does her part nearly at the end of the novel? Or is it that she had taken the major responsibility of taking care of Edmund and Otto thus make them act like that and consider her as if she were their own mother? Maybe.
If you’re planning to read Murdoch, i suggest you start on this one (though not her best) for you to experience her literary skills in a short span of time. With this, you might also end up looking for her other works and start to consider her as your personal favorite like I did. I heartily recommend this particular novel.