The Unicorn

by Iris Murdoch

First of all: this book is an absolute tragedy – everyone dies.

Marian finds herself involved in a complicated network of secrecy and guilt. She discovers that mansion she comes to stay at is in truth a prison for the woman, Hannah, whom she has come to teach. It also turns out that she holds herself there of her own will. There may be a household watching over her, but she’s actually free to leave at any time. She imprisons herself in this way is because of the burden of guilt hanging over her from trying to kill her husband.

Marian devises a plan to kidnap Hannah, hoping that once she sees the outside world, she’ll realize she could survive beyond the boundaries of her home. The attempt fails, and the trust between the two women is strained. Now  Hannah’s determination is renewed to never to leave her post.

Just as the book threatens to drag on uneventfully for another 20 pages, it turns out that the husband is at last returning, and Hannah panics. She shoots her husband’s friend, Gerald, when he’s alone with her in her room. After committing this new crime, she desperately bolts from the house in the middle of the night during a raging storm. It seems as if her life force is truly tied to the house, because during her flight she drowns in the river washing over the road. En route to the house, the husband also drowns, binding the tragic pair forever.

Like I said, tragedy. It was alright overall, bit difficult to decipher some of the old language used, but it did capture that creepy gothic imprisoned feel pretty well. Would recommend to any in search of something out of the norm to read or those who seek books with eerie vibes.

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