Books: Philosophical Pixy

THE SANDCASTLE (342 pp.) — Iris Murdoch—Viking ($3.95).

At first blink, this seems to be one of those drab little British dramas in which an ill wind can be heard whistling across the raw clay of a new housing development. But there is an extra dimension: magic of sorts. At St. Bride's, a public school "of the second class," middle-aged Bill Mor wonders what to do with a life already half wasted in the chalky smog of history classrooms and hopelessly Potterized by his wife, a ruthless practitioner of "one-upmanship." The chance of liberation comes in the figure of a beautiful, boyish...

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