A Severed Head

by Iris Murdoch | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0140020039 Global Overview for this book
Registered by anathema-device of Wien Bezirk 20 - Brigittenau, Wien Austria on 10/22/2008
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by anathema-device from Wien Bezirk 20 - Brigittenau, Wien Austria on Wednesday, October 22, 2008
(different cover)

Got this especially for BookCrossing.
The blurb sounds pretty interesting:

"As macabre as a Jacobean tragedy, as frivolous as a Restoration comedy, Iris Murdoch's fifth novel takes sombre themes - adultery, incest, castration, violence and suicide - and yet succeeds in making of them a book that is brilliantly enjoyable."

...So even though my Mt TBR has reached dizzying heights, this is where this book will go next... ;)

Journal Entry 2 by anathema-device from Wien Bezirk 20 - Brigittenau, Wien Austria on Monday, December 1, 2008
Now that I've read it, I finally know why it's called "A Severed Head". And I even know why there's a "Japanese print" on the cover of this other edition. ;)
And you know what, it was indeed "brilliantly enjoyable".
The plot twists and turns around 7 major characters (6 of which are essential to the story, while one just seems to be there so that a quite macabre joke will work). At first I was a bit puzzled, because the book mainly consists of dialogue and reads rather like a play. It seemed rather old-fashioned, too, what with everyone writing notes and cards to each other all the time... But I soon got used to all that - and by and by discovered the dark comedy that lurks behind this analysis of seemingly "adult" people's relationships (family and otherwise). Everyone lies. Everyone leads, at least, a double life.
And, having read the blurb, you start placing bets on who will be the suicide.
(BTW, I guess I missed the castration bit. But maybe the blurb was written by someone who skimmed through the book, noticed Palmer's profession, and decided to include "castration" for good measure.)

I'll pass this on to Feloris - and bum another book off her in return. ;)

Journal Entry 3 by linguistkris from Remscheid, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I know there is a big note saying "Feloris" stuck to the cover of this book -- but then the brief plot synopsis anathema-device treated me to sounded all too tempting to not sneak a peek...

Edit: A truly, truly amazing book. I'm totally kicking myself I didn't write this journal entry sooner, when I could remember more, but my faded memory is very clear on the fact that the story was an awesome (if somewhat dark) analysis of human relationships, and the prose crystal-clear and gorgeous in a very English way.

Journal Entry 4 by anathema-device at on Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Released 15 yrs ago (2/4/2009 UTC) at



As usual, my Release Notes are a bit late... ;)
Given to linguistkris over coffee - so she can pass it on to Feloris later. Seems this book is going to make a little detour, tough. ;)) Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

Journal Entry 5 by feloris from City of Westminster, Greater London United Kingdom on Friday, May 1, 2009
Received from Linguistkris last Wednesday, but it seems she hasn't put down her own opinions about it yet. I know she liked it though. :)

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