Books: A Midsummer Night's Madness

The Book and the Brotherhood is Iris Murdoch's 23rd novel. That number alone does not fully convey the amazing range of her productivity. For as seasoned Murdoch readers can attest, she has seldom been content simply to tell one story at a time. Her fiction typically doubles up, offering both explicit and subterranean tales. On the surface, civilized, well-educated characters move about in theoretical freedom, working out their destinies according to the dictates of reason and plausibility. But actually they are in thrall to hidden forces, submerged patterns, in danger of being swallowed up, say, by the plot of a gothic...

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