Iris Murdoch's first novel is set in a part of London where struggling writers rub shoulders with successful bookies, and film starlets with frantic philosophers. Its hero, Jake Donaghue, is a drifting, clever, likeable young man who makes a living out of translation work and sponging on his friends. A meeting with Anna, an old flame, leads him into a series of fantastic adventures. Jake is captivated by a majestic philosopher, Hugo Belfounder, who's profound and inconclusive reflections give the book its title - under the net of language.
©2011 Iris Murdoch (P)2011 Random House Audio Go
Under the Net, Iris Murdoch's entertaining first novel,presents a difficult task for any narrator . The story is told in the first person by a complex contradictory character Jake Donaghue -likeable but flawed, perceptive but often obtuse - and the narrative ranges from knockabout comedy to philosophical discussion.All these challenges are successfully met by Samuel West in this excellent reading. He judges the tone of each episode with great discernment and besides giving a convincing voice to the principal character West also succeeds in bringing to life all the characters Jake encounters. His intelligent interpretation will greatly add to the understanding and enjoyment of most readers -as with Timothy West's reading of Trollope, such an excellent performance gives listening to the audio book a distinct advantage over reading for oneself.
I hope that Samuel West will read more novels by Iris Murdoch.
I would happily listen to more Murdoch - and this is one of her best, least typical novels, full of charm and thought and easy invention, lucidly read with intelligence and just the right amount of charm.
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