'Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real'
This selection of Iris Murdoch's most interesting and important letters gives us a living portrait of one of the twentieth century's greatest writers and thinkers. Here for the first time is Murdoch in her own words, from her schoolgirl days to her last years.
The letters show a great mind at work - we watch the young Murdoch struggling with philosophical issues, often unsure of herself; witness her anguish when a novel won't come together; observe her involved in world events and exploring sensuality. They are full of sharp humour and irreverence. They also reveal her personal life, the subject of much speculation, in all its intriguing complexity: her emotional hunger and her tendency to live on the edge of what was socially acceptable. Gradually, we see how this fed into her novels' plots and characters, despite her claims that her fiction was not drawn from reality.
Quite apart from giving these valuable insights, her letters bring us closer than ever before to Iris Murdoch as a person. They make for an extraordinary and intimate reading experience: she is wonderful company.