UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch


This is the first of Iris Murdoch’s books, and is the story of hapless Jake Donahue, a sometimes writer and translator, who lives hand to mouth in London by living off his friends, whose hospitality is beginning to grow dim. It is tagged a comic novel about work and love, wealth and fame.

I found it comic in the sense of how a TV sit com is comic. I felt it needed the laugh track, but I guess it is just me, because it is Murdoch’s most popular book and it is rated ninety-fifth on Random House’s top 100 novels of the twentieth century.

The story follows Jake as he makes the kind of stupid decisions that characters make in sit coms, but I generally don’t care for sit coms, so maybe that is why this book didn’t appeal to me.

It also reads like an absurdist, existential treatise on life. But Sartre and Camus did it better, and I’m not much into absurdist literature either. Gee, I’m hard to please. No. No, I’m not, but I do like a rollicking good story, and frankly, this is more character-driven than plot-driven.

I’ve got a few more of her books to try.  Don’t know why I didn’t read them back in the day.  But, as the saying goes, no time like the present.


2 comments on “UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch

  1. KJD says:

    I’d say you aren’t that hard to please. 🙂

  2. clareweiner says:

    Enjoy exploring Murdoch! I read this years and years ago, and found it quite funny – but remember, she was an academic, not a thriller-writer. Jolly good rip-roaring story is not her style. Some people like character-driven … each to his own!

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