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The Bell

Narrated by: Miriam Margolyes
Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (108 ratings)

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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Vintage Classics Murdoch: Funny, subversive, fearless and fiercely intelligent, Iris Murdoch was one of the great writers of the 20th century. To celebrate her centenary, Vintage Classics presents special editions of her greatest and most timeless novels.

A lay community of thoroughly mixed-up people is encamped outside Imber Abbey, home of an enclosed order of nuns. A new bell, legendary symbol of religion and magic, is rediscovered. Dora Greenfield, erring wife, returns to her husband. Michael Mead, leader of the community, is confronted by Nick Fawley, with whom he had disastrous homosexual relations, while the wise old Abbess watches and prays and exercises discreet authority. And everyone, or almost everyone, hopes to be saved whatever that may mean... Iris Murdoch's funny and sad novel is about religion, the fight between good and evil and the terrible accidents of human frailty.

©1958 Iris Murdoch (P)2011 Penguin Audio

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolute pleasure

What an odd and delightful mind Iris Murdoch had. Her intelligent writing, beautifully descriptive prose and colourful imagination make her stories unique, and read by Miriam Margoyles this was pure joy. I agree with the previous reviewer, if Miriam had narrated all of Murdoch's books, I would download them all. I pitied poor Dora in the possession of such an appalling husband......but presented at a time when women had fewer choices she tries her best to rebel.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

This is a pleasure!

Margolyse should read every Murdoch novel - her voice catches the comedy and the cleverness: note perfect.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

My first Iris Murdoch, am now a huge fan

What did you like best about this story?

The amazing descriptive language. It's all it's quite beautiful.

What does Miriam Margoyles bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Miriam Margolyes makes this story for me. The range of different voices and characterations she brings to the narration is amazing. I just love her.

Any additional comments?

This book reflects the attitudes of the time, however, the opening chapters which describe married life for a young woman, are so well written and structured it struck such a chord.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fabulous rendition of an thought provoking book

This was my introduction to Iris Murdoch and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole. Miriam Margolyes’ excellent narration brought to life a, by turns, comic and tragic cast of characters. Dickensian humour and pathos, and Trollope’s ability to capture the atmosphere, or tension of a given moment. She didn’t give in to the temptation to capitalise on somewhat gothic setting. Although I half wanted her to! The drama comes from psychology versus ideas and the mystery of the individual.

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recommended

This is not a book I would have read but I thoroughly enjoyed it as a bedtime story. Miriam Margoyles is just wonderful!

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Engrossing intelligent book

Really captivated by this book which is both serious and hilarious about the human condition. Miriam Margoles takes on the voices of men and women with ease and made it very easy to conjure up each person. Loved the character of Dora, an anti-heroine who so easily loses the plot she can go to a station to reclaim a lost suitcase and leave it in the pub on the way home. Very funny and tense as the members of an alternative community stumble into each other with unanticipated results. Very sad and fiercely drawn portrait of the homosexual leader tortured by his religious beliefs of sin.A book both humorous and compassionate and wise. Unputdownable.

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Vanity betrayal and live

The Bell is about many things, including the vanity of religiosity, betrayal, and love.
The story has engaging characters and story well narrated by Miriam M

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Showing its age...

Would you try another book written by Iris Murdoch or narrated by Miriam Margoyles?

Probably. Miriam Margoyles is a marvellous reader. I used to be a fan of Iris Murdoch, but the story seemed very slow and clumsy now.

Would you be willing to try another book from Iris Murdoch? Why or why not?

I'd be interested to see if any others I'd read years ago still stood the test of time.

Which character – as performed by Miriam Margoyles – was your favourite?

Dora - although she was a bit weedy!

Was The Bell worth the listening time?

In short. No!

Any additional comments?

Worth reading if you've never come across Iris Murdoch before, or as a study in time. But not a gripping plot!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Padmaja
  • 29-09-19

A delightful story brilliantly told!

Enjoyed every bit of this enchanting story, delightfully told. there are flashes of humour interspersed with poignant moments; Murdoch's insights into what makes us human are precious.