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Bradley Pearson, narrator and hero, is an elderly writer with a 'block'. Finding himself surrounded by predatory friends and relations - his ex-wife, her delinquent brother, a younger, deplorably successful writer, Arnold Baffin, Baffin's restless wife and engaging daughter - Bradley attempts to escape.
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. One of this century's finest and most influential novelists, and a distinguished philosopher, she was published by Chatto from her first novel, Under the Net in 1954 to her last, Jackson's Dilemma in 1995. Awarded the CBE in 1976, Iris Murdoch was made a DBE in the 1987 New Year's Honours List. She died in February 1999.