Tag Archives: Iris Murdoch

A Word Child Review

A Word Child Review

A Word Child by Iris Murdoch

There is one egregious facet of my Vintage Classics edition of A Word Child, which is the clumsy quote on the front cover from The Times: “Iris Murdoch is incapable of writing without fascinating and beautiful colour.”  While only an illiterate would dare contest the fascinating colour of Murdoch’s writing, it would be crass to attribute this particular book with beautiful colour, as it is with artful poise that Murdoch draws a very real, but suitably drab, monochrome rendition of London.

Into this necessarily murky landscape is captured the complex frailties of human relationships and the fragile edifice of social behaviour that draws the reader through the guilt-ridden, habitual purgatory of the protagonist, Hilary Burde’s, passive reminiscence of life.  Engraved with Murdoch’s legendary intelligence on every line of prose, the procession of pages beguile the reader with a fabulous charade of pain; a calamitous world of sickening sibling relationships, haunting nostalgia and naive virgin worship.

After the plot weaves into a powerful tapestry that depicts a childish renouncement of responsibilities, the story then unfurls itself into a disaster of farcical proportions and  displays, what can earnestly be called, one of the most cunningly paced and thoroughly unblemished examples of demonstrating genius with mere words.