Nuns and Soldiersby Iris Murdoch, Karen Armstrong (Introduction)
Set in London and in the South of France, this brilliantly structured novel centers on two women: Gertrude Openshaw, bereft from the recent death of her husband, yet awakening to passion; and Anne Cavidge, who has returned in doubt from many years in a nunnery, only to encounter her personal Christ. A fascinating array of men and women hover in urgent orbit
Set in London and in the South of France, this brilliantly structured novel centers on two women: Gertrude Openshaw, bereft from the recent death of her husband, yet awakening to passion; and Anne Cavidge, who has returned in doubt from many years in a nunnery, only to encounter her personal Christ. A fascinating array of men and women hover in urgent orbit around them: the "Count," a lonely Pole obsessively reliving his émigré father's patriotic anguish; Tim Reede, a seedy yet appealing artist, and Daisy, his mistress; the manipulative Mrs. Mount; and many other magically drawn characters moving between desire and obligation, guilt and joy. This edition of Nuns and Soldiers includes a new introduction by renowned religious historian Karen Armstrong.
“She is incapable of writing without fascinating and beautiful colour.” –The Times
Meet the Author
Dame Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) was one of the most acclaimed British writers of the twentieth century. Very prolific, she wrote twenty-six novels, four books of philosophy, five plays, a volume of poetry, a libretto, and numerous essays before developing Alzheimer's disease in the mid-1990s. Her novels have won many prizes: the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Black Prince, the Whitbread Literary Award for Fiction for The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, and the Booker Prize for The Sea, The Sea. She herself was also the recipient of many esteemed awards: Dame of the Order of the British Empire, the Royal Society of Literature's Companion of Literature award, and the National Arts Club's (New York) Medal of Honor for Literature. In 2008, she was named one of the Times' (London) 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
Karen Armstrong's books include The Battle for God, A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths; and In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis. A former Roman Catholic nun, she teaches at Leo Baeck College for the Study of Judaism and received the 1999 Muslim Public Affairs Council Media Award.
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I've read about a hundred pages of this novel and I like it. There is the French highbrow cliches which I have no idea what they mean but it does sound sophisticated. This novel is like a medium rich texture that I find enjoyable. Thanks.
My first Murdoch novel and if this is any indication of the quality of her work, I look forward to reading many more. Actually suggested by my book group whose members received it with mixed reviews. I liked the eccentric characters and the flow of the plot. I particularly enjoyed Murdoch's descriptive writing style and the way she developed the storyline. Not a fantastic read but a sturdy story that satisfies the soul. Suitable rainy afternoon reading.