|Word Child, a (1975) [Novel]|
by Iris Murdoch
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(From the publisher):
This is the story of a poor boy, Hilary Burde, who is rescued from a delinquent childhood by the examination system and a power over words. Other rescuers are his schoolmaster and his sister. Hilary is finding his way very well in the world until he makes a mistake about a woman. We meet him, when the story opens, twenty years later and about to encounter again the man whom he wronged in the past. Bitter disappointment and guilt have led Hilary to seek refuge in a self-destructive obscurity. He is now offered an opportunity to attempt a redemption of the past. But it is not so easy to carry out this work. Is one the same person now as one was twenty years ago? On the other hand, is once a violent child, always a violent child? Hilary sets about his task with zeal as soon as he begins to realise that it concerns his own salvation. He is supported, hindered, exasperated, criticised by his illiterate sister, whom he loves more than anything in the world, and by the zany mistress he is half-heartedly trying to abandon. But another woman is shortly to become the bright star in his life. His attempts at reconciliation soon turn into a struggle with his old friend and adversary. Fear, muddle, misunderstanding, and the awful power of Eros, move toward tragedy. Is there, for men without God, some kind of grace which can cure hatred and resentment? Or must these deep fatal traces remain forever unredeemed?
Original title: A Word Child
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Literary Fiction/classics