The Italian Girl, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Edmund has escaped from his family into a lonely life.

Returning for his mother's funeral he finds himself involved in the old, awful problems, together with some new ones.

One by one his relatives reveal their secrets to a reluctant Edmund: illicit affairs, hidden passions, shameful scandals. And the heart of all, there is, as always, the family's loyal servant, the Italian girl.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780099285236

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

This is my first venture into the writing of Iris Murdoch, and it has inspired me to read more.Edmund, our narrator, has returned to his family home following the daeath of his mother. The story concerns a small cast of characters who have become trapped in their very insular world. Each has their own source of escapism, which is at once as much a cause of destruction as it is of release.Ever present in the background is the eponymous "Italian girl". Despite playing little part in the foreground of the novel, she is a powerful presence of whom the reader is constantly aware. We know she will have an important role to play, but are never quite sure what that role will be.I would not hesitate to recommend this book - especially to anyone who was looking for a short and easy read, but with beautifully created chatacters and a dense enough plot to intrigue and satisfy.

Review by

Iris Murdoch has a beautiful grasp on the written word - her prose is worth reading simply for elegance and art. That being said, I found the story itself mediocre.There were certainly some interesting twists and unexpected revelations, but it was wholly melodramatic. In its time it was probably quite risque with its focus on passion and adultery, but the deeply philosophical tone dimmed the brilliance somewhat for me. The main character, something of an unreliable narrator, was well done and certainly deserving of praise and admiration.I would recommend this book first to writers trying to get themselves in a good creative place, and second to readers seeking a good story.

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