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The Good Apprentice

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Overview

Edward Baltram is overwhelmed with guilt. His nasty little prank has gone horribly wrong: He has fed his closest friend a sandwich laced with a hallucinogenic drug and the young man has fallen out of a window to his death. Edward searches for redemption through a reunion with his famous father, the reclusive painter Jesse Baltram. Funny and compelling, The Good Apprentice is at once a supremely sophisticated entertainment and an inquiry into the spiritual crises that afflict the...

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The Good Apprentice

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Overview

Edward Baltram is overwhelmed with guilt. His nasty little prank has gone horribly wrong: He has fed his closest friend a sandwich laced with a hallucinogenic drug and the young man has fallen out of a window to his death. Edward searches for redemption through a reunion with his famous father, the reclusive painter Jesse Baltram. Funny and compelling, The Good Apprentice is at once a supremely sophisticated entertainment and an inquiry into the spiritual crises that afflict the modern world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For openers, there's murder, a tough act to follow. But Murdoch, veteran of 21 novels and a recipient of a Booker among other literary prizes, plunges undismayed into the dense, tortured history of Edward Baltram. As a lark, Edward has drugged a sandwich and served it to his best friend and fellow student Mark Wilsden, then gone off to pleasure himself with a casually met young woman; he returns to find Mark's shattered body on the pavement below the window of their shared lodging. At a seance, attended in desperation, he receives a summons to Seegard, the turreted stronghold of Jesse Baltram, whose bastard he is and who long ago abandoned him. There, greeted ony by Jesse's wife May and his two daughters, who assure Edward that Jesse will soon return, he sets out to find the father on whom the wild force of his austerely repressed love is now concentrated. Just after Jesse is discovered, a senile prisoner in a tower of his own house, Edward's stepfather Harry Cuno stumbles by chance into Seegard with Edward's aunt Midge, sister of his dead mother, once Harry's wife. Until that moment only the reader has been privy to the lovemaking carried on at Midge's house when her psychiatrist husband, Harry's closest friend, is in his office, at Harry's when his son and stepson Stuart are away. Now portents and poltergeists are released in good earnest: Was Midge the agent of her sister's death? Whose face does Edward see in the water? Is May poisoning the father and the son? Was Mark's love for Edward homosexual? It is a measure of the author's skill that despite the contrivances, coincidences, psychic dabbling and all-but-incestuous trafficking, the reader's involvement with the huge cast never diminishes, nor does attention to their wit and philosophical exchanges flag. The strands of several novels on many levels are here densely woven together, and if the knots are tied too patly, it is nonetheless a joy to watch the pattern emerge. 25,000 first printing. U.K. rights: Chatto & Windus; translation rights: Ed Victor. January
Elaine Feinstein
Iris Murdoch is here very much at her formidable, myth-making best; inventive, comic, moving. -- The Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141186689
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Series: Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 369,956
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin in 1919 of Anglo-Irish parents. She is the author of 26 novels and several works of philosophy. Among her many honours and awards are the CBE, the DBE, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread Literary Award and the Booker Prize. She died in 1999.
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Table of Contents

I. The Prodigal Son II. Seegard III. Life After Death

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2006

    Murdoch is amazing

    Don't be put off by the predictable horrendous 'accident' at the beginning of this story (as I nearly was). The Good Apprentice narrative continues on - richly suspenseful with fascinating, often crazed characters. Iris Murdoch's flowing, detailed descriptions of the characters' thoughts, problems, emotions, dialogue, households, nature's scenes and sounds seem to me exquisite, masterful, sometimes excruciating. I am enthralled --- and only halfway though the audio book. I must read/listen to more Murdoch novels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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