The Unicorn

Iris Murdoch

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The Unicorn

The Unicorn When Marian Taylor takes a post as governess at Gaze Castle a remote house on a desolate coast she finds herself confronted with a number of weird mysteries and involved in a drama she only partly u

  • Title: The Unicorn
  • Author: Iris Murdoch
  • ISBN: 9780140024760
  • Page: 384
  • Format: Paperback
  • When Marian Taylor takes a post as governess at Gaze Castle, a remote house on a desolate coast, she finds herself confronted with a number of weird mysteries and involved in a drama she only partly understands.

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    • [PDF] é Free Read ☆ The Unicorn : by Iris Murdoch é
      384 Iris Murdoch
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      Posted by:Iris Murdoch
      Published :2018-09-08T22:13:46+00:00

    One thought on “The Unicorn

    1. Cecily on said:

      Like a mix of PG Wodehouse and English country house mystery on West End stage, with religious symbolism (unicorn=purity) thrown in. Unsettlingly creepy, but subtle and thought-provoking.

    2. Rachel Hartman on said:

      I love this book so much, but don't know what to make of it at all. It really is very like a unicorn itself: you try to explain it and you just sound crazy. How seriously should you take it? And yet is it not the very most serious thing that ever was?This is my first Murdoch. I'm reading her because I read an interesting article recently that suggested that she and I have some overlapping ideas about morality. Reading this book, I suspect it's more than that. We have some overlapping and interse [...]

    3. Sub_zero on said:

      En clara imitación u homenaje a la estética literaria gótica, Iris Murdoch elabora una apasionante trama de misterio e intriga mezclando en ella, aún no tengo claro si con acierto o desatino, distintos elementos sobrenaturales o fabulescos que giran en torno a una escalofriante mansión victoriana y sus indescriptibles inquilinos. A dicha propiedad, enclavada en un desolador paisaje repleto de rocas escarpadas, acantilados, ciénagas cubiertas de mortífera vegetación y monumentos megalíti [...]

    4. Cindy C on said:

      My theory is that anyone who reads this novel without first seeing the name of the author, would recognise just how bad it is. Did anyone get anything out of this book about power, guilt or captivity? This book failed not only in capturing truth about any of these subjects, but also in producing convincing character studies. Marian is a husk, and while Effingham is more complicated, the author doesn't place him in a setting where his character can be examined.The second half of the book dissolve [...]

    5. Deea on said:

      4.5 *I don't know what to make of this yet, but it is excellently written. The philosophical touches and the eerie atmosphere are a delight and as always with Murdoch, I finish reading the last page of the book and I cannot stop thinking about the themes, the symbols and the big questions she raises.

    6. Holly on said:

      I couldn't put this one down - read it all Thanksgiving weekend. I'm kicking myself for not picking up Murdoch until now. She's a genius!! Heck, who can deny an author w/ a unifying theme across her works? She's similar to D.H. Lawrence in this respect (or Ayn Rand or Walker Percy); according to a paper I read, Murdoch is a follower of Plato (and a rejector of many Freudian theories), and there are many references to both Plato and Freud in this book. She's especially interested in morality, in [...]

    7. lisa on said:

      The Unicorn by Iris Murdoch (1963)“Everyone here is involved in guilt.”The Unicorn is the first novel by Iris Murdoch that I have read. The narrative weaves in elements of the Gothic, the allegorical, and the mythical, and it does so within the framework of suspense. There’s a lot going on in this novel, and by the end, Murdoch leaves it up to the reader to determine what it all means. Some readers will be frustrated by Murdoch’s ambiguity and that the meaning of the story is open to a w [...]

    8. Kathy on said:

      Excuse me, Ms. Murdoch, but your philosophy slip is showing :-) I found this slim novel pretty delightful, although I’m pretty sure I didn’t really understand a lot of the existential philosophy getting bandied about. However, that didn’t detract at all from the storyline for me—I knew it was making my poor brain work a little harder to find clarity.Murdoch has created quite the allegorical and mythological gothic story, full of allusions to unicorns, vampires, mermaids, Maid Marian, Chr [...]

    9. Moira Russell on said:

      You gotta love the seventies. The blurb on the back of my used Avon paperback:"ONLY IRIS MURDOCH" (in super-ugly font) "could combine the popular Gothic tale with modern psychological insights to make a story which terrifies as it reveals the secret agonies of desire. In this remarkable novel, a young woman takes a governess' position because she is intrigued by the name of Castle Gaze. As she probes the" (what are secrets?*) "dark secrets of the castle's" (what are the residents?) "tortured res [...]

    10. Murray Ewing on said:

      Marian Taylor applies for a job as a private tutor at a remote country house, knowing nothing more about the job than that. When she gets there, she finds she isn’t to be teaching a child, but more or less acting as a companion to Mrs Hannah Crean-Smith, who doesn’t leave the grounds of her large house, Gaze, which sits between a treacherous bog and some black sandstone cliffs overlooking an even more dangerous sea. Why doesn’t Hannah leave the grounds? Slowly, Marian learns the ever-deepe [...]

    11. Akylina on said:

      You can also see my review at The Literary Sisters.The Virago Vintage Classics edition that I read started with an introduction by Stephen Medcalf, who was Iris Murdoch’s very own student. As he mentions in his introductory essay, The Unicorn is “set between two famous landmarks on the west coast of Ireland, the cliffs of Moher and the limestone country of the Burren”. I have never been to Ireland myself (yet), but merely looking at pictures of these places just to have the image in my hea [...]

    12. Heleen on said:

      About 3/4rd through this book, I would've written a raving review bursting with exclamation marks and superlatives. However, the tragic occurrences and incidents just kept piling up and started to flood the pages, spilling across the paper, nearly drowning the reader in their (melo)drama. Although I appreciate the death of one of your characters as a dramatic tool, it can also be quite exhausting (and even tedious!) for the reader to have nearly each chapter introduce a new death. Nevertheless, [...]

    13. the gift on said:

      i have not read much gothic, so i do not know how it uses gothic structures beyond the obvious:castle, sublime isolation, dangerous heath, bogs, rivers, sea, violent loves, emotional, irrational, religious motivations, mythic plot, dark legends, captive woman, semi-feudal, everyone has secrets, guilt…sounds like i could follow it? yes and no. is she writing a deconstruction, a postmodern take? i do not know. she moves in and out of a few characters well. some remain mysterious. all, towards th [...]

    14. Billy Kelly on said:

      The first two thirds of the book are intriguing and there is the exact minimum amount of action and revelations that will just about keep you interested. This section passes as an interesting read, which is why i have given 2 stars.However, you are left feeling as though something is about to happen, though little in fact ever does. We are left with unanswered questions and disappointment.The book tries to make the reader contemplate morality and other elements of philosophy, but is on the whole [...]

    15. Maureen on said:

      i can't say i loved it but i will say i read it months ago, and it has stayed with me. while i read it, it haunted me. yes, the characters are for the most part preposterous, and yet i love the old professor. --it's now been years, and it's still haunting me. i think i will re-read this again in 2013, and re-assess -- i suspect it will receive a higher rating now that i have a better understanding of murdoch's writing.

    16. Jessica on said:

      I ended up in the Iris Murdoch section of the library quite by accident, and her name was so familiar to me but I couldn't think of much of anything about her, so I decided to give one of her books a try. I picked The Unicorn because it was small enough to carry with me back and forth on the train and because the one-sentence synopsis pasted inside the otherwise completely blank cover sounded interesting enough: "A London girl, hired as a companion and tutor, attempts to rescue her mistress who [...]

    17. Tina on said:

      This review isn’t going to be long, as I finished this book a few weeks ago and never got around to writing the review. Perhaps because I thought I couldn’t do it justice, because I wasn’t sure I would be able to properly explain why I am rating it 5 stars. I guess, simplest answer, is that it had almost everything I like in a novel; desolate setting, weird characters, tragedy/tragic romance, and it makes you think about it when you’re done. This novel, just from the title evokes symboli [...]

    18. Laura on said:

      I hadn´t borrowed a book for yonks! A friend was reading Iris Murdoch in the school playground while we were waiting for the kids, and when I mentioned I had never read any of her books, she lent me this one. It is an old dog-eared copy: I cannot find the edition in . It appears she has read it several times: she noted the years on the flyleaf.I remember reading books like this one when I was a teenager. Lots of names come to mind. Marguerite Duras. Milan Kundera. Herman Hesse. Miguel de Unamun [...]

    19. Elise Barker on said:

      The Unicorn is a strange book. I'm not sure I can easily sum up what I think about it in familiar language. It is part fantasy, part philosophy. It is a spellbinding book, and its magic won't work on everybody. It worked on me. It catches you in a timeless world that is neither 1963 nor 1363. It is a gothic time when ritual sacrifice is favored, when castles, fairies, superstitions, are commonplace, but it is also possible (though not easy) to escape back to plain English sense in a solid car or [...]

    20. Sangita Mazumder on said:

      This book is perfectly named, after the Unicorn - a mythical creature symbolizing deep spiritual and philosophical theories; something that makes perfect sense when you feel it but seems too surreal when you try to talk about it. A treat for classic Gothic/horror lovers, although it's not a book for everyone. There are disturbing characters, confused some of them, and they manage to leave a mark at the end. The central character of Hanna seemed to be a misunderstood angel, though at some point s [...]

    21. Meghan on said:

      If claustrophobic Gothic lit is your bag, then quickly to the nearest book dealer! If not, you might want to come for the lush details for which Murdoch is well known.I still have to rate The Sea, The Sea higher based on my feeling that it was better written. The first two parts were creepy suspenseful, a real page turner. Unfortunately, the last part felt incredibly rushed and forced, as if Murdoch just wanted to be done with the story or distracted by something else.Not the first Murdoch I wou [...]

    22. Michael on said:

      Very few books combine psychological insight, an understanding of both external social interactions and the internal mechanics of emotion, and metaphysics / existential philosophy. This one does it, is equally strong in all of the above arenas, and is well-written on top of all that. Shallow readers will be bored. Those who are patient and receptive to these things will be captivated. A real thinker's book.

    23. Stephen Brody on said:

      In spite of a distaste for it, Iris Murdoch here is dabbling in psychoanalysis, not perhaps entirely happily in the context of a ‘gothic’ story almost verging on grand guignol – unless she’s very discreetly poking fun, one never quite knows with her, part of the fascination of course. A somewhat tedious young woman, bored with an even more tedious boy-friend who goes in for bird-watching, bad tweed and pompous pseudo-academism, takes up an advertisement for a governess on the west coast [...]

    24. Sabrina on said:

      What a peculiar book. Every time I thought it was about to get dull and I thought I knew what was coming, Iris Murdoch slammed me with the strange and unexpected. If you've ever read a Gothic novel set in the British countryside and wished more was happening on the surface, and not just in the depths of everyone's psyches, this is the book for you.

    25. Carla Prado on said:

      The only reason why I don't give it 5 stars is because Effingham Cooper annoyed the hell out of me.

    26. Galina on said:

      Доста ме обърква Мърдок и макар че нямам почти никакъв опит с нейните романи, в известна степен се повториха усещанията ми от "Италианското момиче". Смесването на мистицизъм, философия, самоанализ, наблюдение, истина и измислица е опасна плоскост, в която - мисля си - мярката [...]

    27. Blake on said:

      The Unicorn begins with Marian Taylor who, having accepted a post as governess in a remote country house in Ireland, known as Gaze Castle, finds herself in an isolated railway station at the mercy of strangers. Passing then through terrain of people and places that call up the terrifying philosophical character of the sublime, Marian arrives at Gaze to find her charge is, instead of the child of her expectations, the very lady of the house. The lady around whom has grown the mystery that blooms [...]

    28. LibraryCin on said:

      When Marian heads out to Gaze Castle to work, she assumes she will be teaching children. When she arrives, however, she finds that she is going to be a companion to the young woman of the household, Hannah. Marian quickly sees that there is something very odd going on at the castle. The start of the book actually really drew me in. It felt a bit creepy, kind of gothic, and I was curious to find out what was going on. But, the execution of the book fell a little flat for me. I think I wasn't as i [...]

    29. Yulia on said:

      Phew, I finally made it to the very last page! But, honestly speaking, I don't know what to make of it, really. At the beginning I really enjoyed reading this book and felt utterly mesmerised by its Gothic setting and mysterious plot, but the further I got the less I understood (or so it felt) and the more annoyed I became with the main characters' erratic and inadequate behavior. The book left too many questions and not a single answer or at least a clue! At one point it felt as if I could neve [...]

    30. skein on said:

      This was supposed to be a sort of ghost story, I think? Love and longing and misconception and a literal lady locked in a tower and metaphor all over the place and mystery and a young woman! traveling! who encounters a strange village! annnnnnnnnnd whoops, everybody dies!Whatever. It did not rise and it did not converge. The characters were despicable -- in a dull way -- and the mysteries were nowhere near mysterious, and it was a hot mess. I don't even KNOW.

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