A review, and links to other information about and reviews of The Sandcastle by Iris Murdoch. The Sandcastle begins with a fractious dialogue between Mor (the main character) and his wife Nan. It becomes clear within only a few pages. VINTAGE CLASSIC MURDOCH: Funny, subversive, fearless and fiercely intelligent, Iris Murdoch was one of the great writers of the 20th century. To celebrate.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — The Sandcastle by Iris Murdoch. The Sandcastle by Iris Murdoch. Philippa Gregory Goodreads Author Introduction. The quiet life of schoolmaster Bill Mor and his wife Nan is disturbed when a young woman, Rain Carter, arrives at the school to paint the portrait of the headmaster.


Published February 4th by Vintage Classics first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Sandcastleplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Dec 28, Paul rated it really liked it Shelves: It revolves around Bill Mor, a middle-aged teacher in a minor public school. He has a wife Nan and two children Donald and Felicity. He also has some political ambitions; to stand as a Labour Candidate in a local parliamentary seat.

She is there to paint a po 4. She is there to paint a portrait of the former headmaster. Rain and Bill fall in love with each other and Bill is then torn between his family and the prospect of happiness and a different life with Rain.

There are twists, turns and workings out.

There are elements of tragedy and comedy in fairly equal measure and Murdoch rather expertly makes it difficult for the reader to see where one ends and the other starts. There are a number of oddities in this; I am no expert in the nature of human attraction, but it was not immediately obvious why Rain fell for Mor. He was indecisive and rather lacking in personal charisma; both are also quite unworldly and Mor seeks to avoid confrontations mostly with his wife.

The characterisation is good and although the plot may be slow, it is never dull. The sandcastle of the title may be symbolic of the impermanence of hopes and dreams.

All of the characters have lost something by the end, had some hope or other dashed. Murdoch does a very good job of illuminating the everyday hopes and despairs of ordinary people in a subtle and understated way. A good novel which reminds me that I must read more Murdoch. View all 5 comments.


Jun 24, James rated it really liked it. It is the story of a closed world and the impact of the outsider — Rain Carter and all she brings with her from the world outside. It is a story combining themes of love, desire, guilt, control, power, reality and fantasy. It is a story where reality, destiny and defeatism meet fantasy and a free and dream like state where seemingly everything just might be possible. View all 11 comments. Jan 18, Ivana Books Are Magic rated it it was amazing.

Iris Murdoch is an exceptional novelist. So, to me she still is a remarkable writer, even if she is not physically writing any more.

Having finished this novel earlier this evening, I kept thinking about the reasons that make her so adapt and well suited for writing novels.

One of these is surely her intellect. That her intellect was quite r Iris Murdoch is an exceptional novelist. That her intellect was quite remarkable, to that we can all agree. Moreover, perhaps it is better not to dwell on it too much.

Sandcasstle Iris had serious brain power is very apparent in her writing. No need to go any further than that. In fact, I think what makes her a great writer is that she is able mirdoch put all that aside. When she writes, Iris becomes, first and iiris a writer.

That is to say, she is a true artist, one that is naturally and wonderfully lost in the world of her creation.

Intellect is just one of her tools she employs as a writer. So, what else makes her writing so remarkable? I suppose that many great novels can be said to have one important talent- that of making their characters come to life. Iris was certainly very good at that. She was such a careful observant of human beings, both as individuals and part of society.

Iris understood just how complex a human being is, what an acute mess of profound and shallow all of us are. Sometimes what governs us is purely accidental. We all change our mind more often than we would like to admit.

Great decisions in life are at times made for banal reasons. Iris manages to capture that and somehow you can feel that she is capable both of restraining from judgement and making a slight fun of her characters. This novel like many of her works, focuses on theme of adultery and marriage. The novel opens up with Mor having a conversation with his wife. Mor is a deeply unhappy middle aged man.

He is as one American sitcom had put it married with children. Fulfil their duties and obligations? If you cut them, do they not bleed? The tragedy is that Nan is deeply unhappy as well- on some level.

How wonderfully human she is! Nan imagines herself strong, but she is deluded.


Nan purposely builds her life around her husband because that is what gives her control over him and in that way makes her feel in control of her own life. So, Sandcasttle falls in love with a young women. An exceptional young women. You would think her a femme fatale, but she is anything but.

The Sandcastle

murdpch No, a femme fatale is not here- that would be too simple. Rain that is her name is an artist. I would hasten to add that it was a smart move to make her an artist.

Not only did it gave the writer to explore the theme of art, but it added depth to the character of Rain. In reality, she is the one I felt for the most. Perhaps because she is so young. Age is not thhe as Iris knows very well. What about other characters? There are quite a few of them and they are all wonderful.

Iris creates her characters with such attention to detail. It always astonishes me just how real they seem. For example, the old headmaster of the school in which Mor is employed. He is the one that receives Rain, the painter in his home.

In fact, that is what the opening conversation between Mor and Nan is about, he is telling her about how school decided to commission a portrait of the old master.

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The other teachers from the school are quite interesting characters too. His son Donald is in his school while his daughter Felicity is away but she visits often. His relationship with them was very interesting. Despite him falling in love with other woman and being so lost in his feelings, you got this feeling that he is the one that deeply cares about them, not his wife- yet he is so awkward around them. The painfulness that Mor felt for not being able to connect to his children was much evident.

A part of it surely comes from his own frustration with his life.

Iris Murdoch – The Sandcastle – Michelle Bailat-Jones

To me that intuitiveness of her young characters teenagers and kids always has a ring of truth in it. I will just say a few more words on the story itself. Everything that happened felt very logical and well thought trough. I liked both the story itself and the way it was written. In my view, the execution and the ending were both flawless.