AN UNOFFICIAL ROSE
Iris Murdoch, , read by Christopher Cozenove. . New Millennium, $25 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-931056-89-2
This 1986 Murdoch is a Shakespearean comedy of misaligned lovers, minus the spirits and potions. Here the characters are responsible for their own actions, and Murdoch delights in painting these young, middle-aged and elderly adventurers and the psychological processes that direct their actions. Hugh's wife, Fanny, dies after 40 years of marriage; his former lover, Emma, appears at the funeral. Hugh becomes wild to win her love again, while neighbor Mildred (with her gay husband Humphrey's blessing) has designs on Hugh. Hugh's son Randall, meanwhile, is madly in love with Emma's companion/secretary Lindsey—who may or may not be having an affair with her employer—while Randall's wife Ann yearns for Mildred's brother Felix, who, in turn, has always secretly adored her. But it is the scheming of Miranda, Randall and Ann's teenaged daughter, that ultimately determines the outcomes of their lives, for better and for worse. Cozenove has a deep and melodic reading voice and a charming British accent that work well with this material, though his renditions of Hugh and Emma are a bit too elderly and scratchy for the characters and the story.
Reviewed on: 09/03/2001