Books: Soap Opera & Sensibility

AN UNOFFICIAL ROSE (344 pp.)—Iris Murdoch—Viking ($4.95).

The scenery is familiar: a grand but now slightly shabby English country house; a London flat admirably fitted for infidelity; serene countryside across which one can hear an epigram drop at 50 paces.' The plot seems unpromising. Will bumbly Sexagenarian Hugh Peronett find Indian summer satisfactory with his renounced ex-mistress Emma now that his wife is dead? Will his caddish son Randall leave his long-suffering wife? And what of sensible, sixtyish Mildred Finch, who has—loved old Hugh from afar for more than 20 years?

Happily, the prestidigitator...

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