The Good Apprentice : With an Introduction by David Cooper Paperback
by Iris Murdoch
Stuart Cuno has decided to become good. Not believing in God, he invents his own methods, which include celibacy, chastity and the abandonment of a promising academic career.
Interfering friends and relations question his sincerity, his sanity and his motives.
Stuart's step-brother Edward Baltram is tormented by guilt because he has, he believes, killed his best friend.
He dreams sometimes of redemption, sometimes of suicide.
Funny, compelling and extremely moving, THE GOOD APPRENTICE is about guilt ridden despair, and the difficult problem of how to try to be good - and the various magical devices which console those who are sensible enough not to try.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 576 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 30/11/2000
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099285250
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Review by LyzzyBee
Bought 1990s?Can't believe I forgot to review this one - it was still on my bedside table, not in my Reviewing Pile!In this marvellous fable about families, fatherhood and How To Be Good, Murdoch is working at the height of her powers. This is where the Murdoch A Month project really comes into its own, as a re-reading is deepened by our knowledge of the themes and structures she has been playing with in her career up to now. Crucially, in this novel the common themes and interests are woven completely into the plot and characterisation of the book, working to deepen and intensify the myth of place and person rather than being separate elements to pick out. We have a pair of "brothers", Stuart, who is trying to be good on a rather uninvolved and theoretical level, and Edward, who has done something so bad that he fears he will never escape unless he dies. Both need to do something practical in order to redeem themselves, and both do so rather accidentally. Some marvellous set pieces and Murdochian convoluted relationships, but it doesn't seem contrived and is deeply satisfying. One lovely touch, which I might not have noticed without one of the sessions I attended at the IM conference, was the way in which Edward starts to really "see" the landscape around him, picking out birds and plants, whereas at the beginning all he can see is Trees and Water.One of my favourites. I do love the Later Novels (and I'm looking forward to a book coming out about them at some point in the next couple of years!)