The Book and the Brotherhood, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Iris Murdoch's twenty-third novel begins at a midsummer ball at Oxford, where a group of men and women - friends since university days - have gathered.

Dancing under the stars are the charismatic Gerard Hernshaw, Rose Curtland, who has loved Gerard in silence for years, Duncan Cambus and his restless wife Jean, Jenkin Roderhood, the saintly schoolmaster who is the group's moral centre, Gerard's tormented niece Tamar Hernshaw, and David Crimond, the monomaniacal Marxist genius.

Years ago the friends banded together to finance a political and philosophical book to be written by Crimond.

On this summer's evening, Crimond's actions touch off a crisis and by the night's end the vindictive ghosts of the past have invaded the present.

Passion, hatred, a duel, a murder and a suicide pact all disturb the old world of academic reflection and weekend parties.

Partners change, the book is completed, somebody has to die.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780099433545

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

What happens when you change your beliefs, but don't let your practices catch up? This is a typical Murdoch novel, in that the major characters have significant relationship issues. At times (like the winter visit) the novel feels warm and cosy, but also at times frightening. Basically a group of college mates are supporting someone who will write The Book critiqueing society. Of course as the years progress they discover that they are all now heavily integrated into that society, and the person who is chosen to write it will never finish it, and is dangerous as well.

Review by

This is one of Iris Murdoch's most complex and philosophical novels, and is full of her trademark humour and quirky plot twists, a many layered narrative which covers a multitude of ideas. Very enjoyable, but probably not the easiest of her books to start with.

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