The Red and the Green, by Iris Murdoch Rothdas book review RSS
5.0 Stars

I decided to read this as my next book in the Christmas of Counter-insurgency event. I had remembered (dimly, from a plane ride, from 15 years ago) that the Red and the Green was primarily about the Irish uprising of 1916, with only modest Murdochian human interest elements added in. I could not have been more wrong. What the book is really about is Millie, a middle-aged and low-moraled trouser-wearing sex sphinx, who decides that what would be really fun is to mess with a lot of dudes and just completely fuck up their dumb male minds. The basic pattern of the book is that you have a male character who is at a critical moment of their life where they are coming to a crisis of their politics/religion/marriage, and then Millie comes along and emotionally pokes and supplexes them into utter confusion when they are at their most vulnerable and distracted.

There are other elements of the story: a surprisingly detailed and readable account of the politics and history of Ireland, a proto-Tallis character in the form of Kathleen, and some standard Murdoch psychological mechanics bits. There's also a fair bit of horse and transportation based humor. She still has the capacity to make me laugh with surprise, and I found myself delighted and/or giggling through large stretches of the novel.