Author(s): Iris Murdoch
The scene is Ireland. The time, 1916, is the eve of the famous, tragic Easter Rebellion in Dublin, which startled Europe even in the midst of the First World War. A single Anglo Irish family provides the extremely diverse characters. Pat Dumay is a Catholic and an Irish patriot. His relentlessly pious mother pursues her own private war with his step father, a man sunk in religious speculation and drink. Pat's English bred Protestant cousin and rival, Andrew Chase White, an officer in King Edward's Horse, puzzles out his complex emotions about Ireland and Frances, the girl he loves, against a background of the fear of death, while France's father, Christopher Bellman, scholar and cynic, finds the love of Ireland a more passionate matter than he had bargained for. Weaving these people together into a tragic comic pattern moves Millie Kinnard: fast, feminist, and only just respectable.
Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin in 1919 of Anglo-Irish parents. She went to Badminton School, Bristol, and read classics at Somerville College, Oxford. In 1948 she returned to Oxford where she became a fellow of St Anne's college. Awarded the CBE in 1976, Iris Murdoch was made a DBE in the 1987 New Year's Honours List. She died in February 1999.