Carel is widowed rector presiding over a London church destroyed during the war. The rectory is home to an array of residents: his daughter, Muriel; his beautiful invalid ward, Elizabeth; their West Indian servant, Pattie; Eugene, a Russian emigre, and his delinquent son, Leo. Carel's brother, Marcus, is co-guardian of Elizabeth, but his attempts to get closer to the rector are constantly rebuffed.
These seven characters maintain a constant dance of attraction and repulsion, misunderstanding and revelation, the centre of which is the enigmatic Carel himself - a priest who believes that, God being dead, His angels have been released.
Iris Murdoch was one of the best and most influential writers of the twentieth century...she kept the traditional novel alive, and in doing so changed what it is capable of
The Time of the Angels is certainly her best; wittier, more lyrical, more deeply felt than ever before. She is an enchantress
I can think of few other novelists who could have written so superbly and so surely of the good and evil that encompasses us all
With a bank holiday approaching and no open pubs in sight, Rob Crossan rounds up the finest literary ones to indulge in, instead.
Funny, subversive, fearless and fiercely intelligent, Iris Murdoch was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. To celebrate the centenary of her birth, here's our guide to help you pick which Murdoch book to read first – or last!