"Funny, compelling, and extremely moving, Iris Murdoch's magnificent new novel is at once supremely sophisticated entertainment and an inquiry into the various spiritual crises that afflict the modern world. In the powerful opening scene young Edward Baltram gives his ingenuous friend Mark Wilsden a drugged sandwich, a prank which ends tragically. Edward's subsequent guilt, self-hatred, and crisis of conscience provide one of the spiritual focal points of this event-filled tale. The other is supplied by Edward's stepbrother, Stuart, a brilliant student of mathematics who quits his promising scholastic career to devote himself to the difficult and obscure task of becoming good. The two young men arouse bemusement and concern in their parents and supposedly knowledgeable elders.
The cast of characters includes Stuart's father, Harry Cuno, a feckless but charming dilettante (A dabbler in an art of a field of knowledge); Edward's uncle, Thomas McCaskerville, an introspective Scots Jewish psychiatrist who undertakes Edward's psychic rehabilitation; and another magician (artist), Jesse Baltram, Edward's blood father, a maverick spiritual figure whose household of "holy women" provides an ambiguous refuge. Readers will be delighted and disturbed by this vivid and beautiful tale of good and evil, and the perennial contest between religion and magic.
Full of wit and romance, The Good Apprentice is sure to gain an even wider audience for this illustrious writer."
I have been trying to remember what novels I have read by Murdoch before reading the novel "The Good Apprentice". I know I read Murdoch's novel "The Black Prince" and I am sure I read another novel by her after I read "The Black Prince", but I can not be sure. My memory is failing me in my old age. I think I read also Murdoch's novel "The Severed Head". I have in one big paperback three novels by Murdoch-the first novel in this volume is "The Severed Head" and the next one is "The Black Prince" followed by "The Sea, the Sea". I must have read "The Black Prince" after reading "The Severed Head". I never got around to reading "The Sea,the Sea". Yes as read parts of the novel "The Severed Head" it comes back to me. I really enjoyed reading the novel "The Black Prince" by Murdoch! I think I must have read these novels back in 2012.
I also read awhile back, "Elegy For Iris" A Memoir by John Bayley-
"John Bayley, who has been married to Iris Murdoch for over forty years, has written one of the most extraordinary memoirs of recent years. With great compassion he re-creates their passionate love affair and poignantly describes the mask that has ineluctably descended over Iris's being with the progression of her Alzheimer's disease. It is Bayley's accomplishment to find the glimmers of Iris's old self that break through the barriers of her disease, and to share with us his message of hope and joy."