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Flight from the Enchanter Paperback – Import, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Classics
  • Paperback: 301 pages
  • Publisher: VINTAGE (RAND); New Ed edition (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099283697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099283690
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kim10024 on November 11, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Iris Murdoch! I can't believe no one has reviewed this book. It's a pretty easy read and a good introduction to her work. The usual academic/related characters of semi-upper class Brits with the odd Europeans thrown in (like those scary Polish guys and the eccentric dressmaker. As usual the plot is irrelevant it's the characters that draw you in. It's about passion, old love, absurd love, odd parents, adult siblings oddly entwined, eccentric old ladies, beautiful gardens ripped up by owners....Anyway if you've never read her give her a try. She is a most amazing writer and also quite amusing in an unexpected way. A reviewer of one of her other novels said "Iris I miss you." And so do I.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Iris Murdoch has an unparalleled talent for putting her characters into awkward, flabbergasting messes. Each character's hideous bad decisions result in unintended outcomes that tend towards horrific. THE FLIGHT FROM THE ENCHANTER is Murdoch at her character-twisting finest.

Annette, youthful and vibrant, leaves school. She wants to go to the school of life, and despite two near-rapes, a ridiculous midnight (and half-naked) pursuit of a man old enough to be her father, and a silly suicide attempt by antacid, Annette comes out no more worldly. It is an unwritten rule in Murdoch's universe that youth (and the carelessness of it) are resilient - but… Somewhere, somehow, youth is broken. Rosa could be a middle-aged Annette. The school of life has knocked Rosa around, yet a compulsion towards pliant self-effacement (and plenty of ill-advised decisions) has landed Rosa in the middle of a brother sandwich. Her threesome has horrific consequences, not least of which is the very real, not by antacid, suicide of a minor character.

THE FLIGHT FROM THE ENCHANTER is a reminder that we are linked. Although the plot machinations tend towards the melodramatic, and as such are not quite "realistic," they are best viewed as educational scenarios, a safe place to see the repercussions of immoral (bad) decisions. Murdoch is a moral writer, and her goal is not simply to provide entertainment, but to show us what it means to live a good life, possibly (mostly?) by negative example. THE FLIGHT FROM THE ENCHANTER can be read on multiple levels, none of which disappoint.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Flight From the Enchanter was Iris Murdoch's followup to her acclaimed debut Under the Net and, in my mind at least, is an even better book. It follows a series of somewhat quirky characters, all with some connection to the mysterious Mischa Fox, who is presumably the "enchanter" of the title.

I like the way Murdoch moves from the comic tones of the early scenes—the first meeting between Mona and Mrs. Wingfield is positively Dickensian—to the more serious and even tragic developments later on. The party scene late in the book is particularly well-observed, from multiple perspectives.

One thing that struck me was how hapless the British characters in the book are. Annette the bubblehead quits school to find herself and drifts around in a teenaged daze, Hunter labors for a magazine no one reads, Mona slums away in a job way below her education level, Mrs. Westfield spends her days drinking, Rainborough stagnates in a do-nothing bureaucracy doing crossword puzzles and Peter Saward obsesses over archeological trivia. Even the proactive Calvin Blick is really just a factotum for Fox, not his own man. The lecture Mrs. Westfield delivers Mona late in the book could have been addressed to any of these people.

Among the rest of the cast I was particularly intrigued by Jan and Stefan, who come off like the Fenstrunk Brothers' creepy cousins.

This is not one of Murdoch's most known works, which is a shame. It's well worth reading.
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More About the Author

Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) was one of the most influential British writers of the twentieth century. She was awarded the 1978 Booker Prize for The Sea, The Sea, won the Royal Society Literary Award in 1987, and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1987 by Queen Elizabeth. Her final years were clouded by a long struggle with Alzheimer's before her passing in 1999.

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