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The Time of the Angels Paperback – Jun 25 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (June 25 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099429098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099429098
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,497,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'...most influential writers of the twentieth century... she kept the traditional novel alive, and in so doing changed what it is capable of’ -- Guardian

About the Author

IRIS MURDOCH was born in Dublin in 1919 of Anglo-Irish parents. She went to Badminton School, Bristol, and read classics at Somerville College, Oxford. In 1948 she returned to Oxford where she became a fellow of St Anne's college. Awarded the CBE in 1976, Iris Murdoch was made a DBE in the 1987 New Year's Honours List. She died in February 1999.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
One of Murdoch's best--and darkest June 5 2006
By Jay Dickson - Published on
Format: Paperback
THE TIME OF THE ANGELS is not one of Murdoch's best-known novels, but it is one of her best and most disturbing. Concentrated largely in a London rectory for a church bombed to smithereens during the last war, the novel is concerend, appropriately enough, with the ways in which people can act in the absence of God. The action of the novel--and much of the character's concerns--revolve upon the strange new rector of the church, Carel, who refuses to see anyone other than his daughter, his ward, and his servants in his new station, and who never leaves the house: the novel creates a wonderfully claustrophic atmosphere within the rectory that seems to anticipate that in the toymaker's house in Angela Carter's subsequent little masterpiece THE MAGIC TOYSHOP. (The hazy wintertime in the London streets of Murdoch's novel also act beautifully to counteract the overheated atmosphere inside the rectory.) Although the novel does not end up with as high a body count as some of Murdoch's other works (such as the Jacobean Gothic THE UNICORN), its concluding events are incredibly bleak--though lightened by some final touches of Murdochian humor.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A House Divided Against Itself... July 4 2015
By M. Buzalka - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
One of Iris Murdoch’s best, if least known, novels, The Time of the Angels (1966) rehearses and perfects some of the themes she had been exploring in her previous books, including the immured beauty (The Unicorn), epidemic unrequited love (An Unofficial Rose, The Italian Girl) and the controlling outsized personality (The Flight From the Enchanter).

Set in the claustrophobic environment of a somewhat isolated rectory during a fog and snow bound winter period, it involves a small set of principal characters living in the household of reclusive but still domineering Anglican priest Carel Fisher. They include the widower Carel’s daughter Muriel, his niece and ward Elizabeth, the bi-racial housekeeper Pattie, live-in servant Eugene, a Russian emigre and also a widower, and Eugene’s son Leo.

Using this almost hermetically sealed cast of characters (a few outside visitors do occasionally intrude, primarily Carel’s brother Marcus) and their secrets and desires, Murdoch constructs a compelling story of intersecting and cross purposes, telling the tale primarily from the points of view of Muriel and Pattie and occasionally Eugene, Leo and Marcus but—critically—never Carel or Elizabeth, who maintain tremendous influence over the other characters in the household seemingly without effort.

The story is interesting enough through its first three quarters or so (I’ll decline to give any spoilers because it really is a great read), and one gets the distinct impression that Murdoch is setting up a big finish as the various plot strands play out. If so, one is not disappointed as there are a number of shocker revelations and developments that, while skirting melodrama, are undoubtedly effective and perfectly cap the story’s dramatic arc.

This is one of Iris Murdoch’s best novels and it’s a shame it is also one of her least known, judging by the paltry number of reviews here on Amazon. By all means, if you are at all interested in Murdoch, The Time of the Angels is a must-read.
If you haven't read Iris Murdoch before Oct. 27 2013
By eagle eye - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
don't choose this one. It is very spare, the main character, Carel, hardly appears, there is some fairly rough stuff even for the times about a "colored" servant who is not really even treated by the author as a complete human being. The magic and the mystery and the search for the good along with, as my grandmother said 'everyone jumping into bed with everyone' is just not there. I find Murdoch to be one the most substantial and rewarding writers I ever read. She's a great 20th century novelist, and one of the few who will live on. This is just not one of her good writing moments.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
As wierd a novel as you will read this year July 28 2005
By C. Collins - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is certainly a wierd story. A dominating, rude, destructive Anglican Priest has become an atheist preaching wild sermons to his disturbed and dissappearing parrishoners. Yet his dominance and control keep a solor system of lesser weakling personalities tied to him. Carel's behavior throughout the book is destructive yet his apologist daughter, Muriel, keeps making excuses for him, even when she finds that her invalid cousin, Elizabeth, is actually her father's illegitimate daughter with his sister-in-law and he is having sex with this young sickly woman that he knows is his daughter.

The parrish and parsonage are full of hidden passages and peep holes so that everyone can spy on Carel's misdeeds.

His brother Marcus continues to make contact with Carel, continually is rebuffed, and then thinks he is enlightened by this process by the wise older brother, Carel, who actually could care less whether his younger brother lives or dies.

Interestingly, there is a beautiful young amoral Russian boy, Leo, living in the parsonage with his father,who is just as amoral and is also forgiven because of his youth and beauty. I found it interesting that Murdoch would have the read be repulsed by the older Carel yet forgive the younger Leo, when they are both birds of a feather.

What an odd book!

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