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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Used book in good condition. Has some wear and tear on the cover Dust jacket has a few slight tears, or a few smudges Has some wrinkled pages. Has some dirty pages. May be an ex-library book, with library markings, features, and stamps. Buy your literature with confidence! Reliable customer service and no-hassle return policy. This book qualifies for PRIME and FREE SHIPPING! Good books are working copies. May have highlighting, underwriting, some cover wear/curling, tanning of the pages etc.
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An Accidental Man Paperback – March 1, 1988

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Iris Murdoch has imposed her alternative world on us as surely as Christopher Columbus or Graham Greene.”—Victoria Glendinning in the Sunday Times (London)

From the Inside Flap

The the story of the comic and yet relentless struggle for survival of Austin Gibson Grey, the accidental man. He is one of those people who needs to survive through the destruction of others. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reissue edition (March 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140036113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140036114
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,117,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
An Accidental man is a delicious read if you enjoy the tongue in cheek writing of Nancy Mitfod and Evelyn Waugh. It is essentially a story of an incestuous upper middle class English family and thier many friends and one imposter, Ludwig, the scholarly American who by way of an accidental birth in Great Britain, is avoiding the draft to the Vietnam war by his parents adopted contry. The dry sharpness of Ms Murdochs portrayal of the characters is as cool as a gin and tonic but Ludwig, who engages himself to Gracie, the much indulged daugter, soon finds his real ideals in question and the apparent tight family bonds are really gossamer thin and superficial. Other characters, Matthew, Mavis, Austin and Dorina play a large part in the story, indeed, Austin, the accidental Man of the title carries with him a series of accidents involving the entrapement and death of two wives, the death of an innocent child and the maiming of a bumbling blackmailer. Matthew sets himself up as the saviour of the accidental brother but there is no salvation for Austin nor any of the gang as thier comfotable world of simple social expectations leads them into a second generation, while Ludwig escapes their prison only to land in a real one back home in America. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys humour with a black edge. It is fairly long and the multitude of characters sometimes makes it a bit confusing but it well worth settling in to and as it is the first of Ms Murdochs books I have read, I will look forward to the next...and the next!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Austin Gibson Grey is a bungler and a bumbler--someone you'd expect to be both harmless and innocuous. He can't keep a job; his most recent employment has been eliminated by computerization, at the recommendation of consultants he has been led to believe were interior decorators. He is a schemer whose indolence keeps him from accomplishing anything, and as he enters middle age he has survived for far too long on his good looks. Yet people around him, both companions and complete strangers, keep suffering from horrible injuries or even death, from paralysis to electrocution to suicide, and his role in each tragedy ranges from simple obliviousness to negligent homicide.

"Not doom, not fate, accident," says Matthew, Austin's brother, reassuring the sister of one of the victims. Well, not quite. Matthew, the exact opposite of his brother, is a globetrotting diplomat and Zen-inspired saint who has returned home to witness the final disintegration of Austin's life, and he spends much of his homecoming either making excuses for his brother's foolish carelessness or helping to cover up his latest ruinous catastrophe. "Bad luck is a sort of wickedness in some people," is the assessment made by another character, who commands her fiance to stay away from Austin entirely.

And that wickedness can manifest itself in any number of ways: several characters are guilt-ridden solely for what they didn't do. One witnesses a murder on the streets of New York, another avoids meeting a distraught friend just before she attempts suicide, and even Matthew himself helplessly see a demonstrator whisked away by the secret police in a foreign country.
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Format: Paperback
An Accidental Man (1971) is another of Iris Murdoch’s she-loves-him-he-loves-her-she-loves-somebody-else circular firing squad of love extravaganzas, but unlike some of the best ones, this one felt oddly bloodless, perhaps because so many of the participants are such oddballs that empathizing with them is difficult. Some reviews note the large cast of characters but I didn’t think that was a problem. I think Murdoch has written books with more. The problem was that they really are more characters than people so there is an artificiality to the proceedings that acted, at least to me, like a glass wall preventing any emotional engagement with them. This would be toward the bottom of the list if I were to rank the Murdoch novels I’ve read (I’m reading them chronologically).
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Format: Kindle Edition
My first attempt at Iris Murdoch's work, and difficult to review, as although I recognise that the quality of writing, the deeper messages on morality etc, mean it's probably worth at least 4.5, I didn't desperately like it.
Opening with the breathless engagement of an American draft dodger and his rather shallow British girlfriend, the narrative soon introduces a host of other characters that make up their circle, most notably Austin Gibson-Grey, with his skeletons in the closet, an estranged wife, and various nefarious activities...
Murdoch writes in a variety of styles, the usual narrative being interspersed with a series of letters, or an impression of a party given through two or three pages of one-line comments, giving everyone's news and gossip in a humorous way.
It's a far-fetched tale, though I think the author's depiction of lonely and unloved Charlotte Ledgard was convincing.
The characters seem to be largely bisexual, switching from feelings from one to the other.
Glad to have come to the end, although by no means unreadable.
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