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The Standing Rabbit

The Message to the Planet by Iris Murdoch

The Message to the Planet by Iris Murdoch

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The Message to the Planet by Iris Murdoch is a 563-page hardcover published by Viking.  Stated first American edition of 1989.  The dust jacket shows light shelf wear but is fully intact.  Inside, the book has a scribble on the front end paper in pencil.  Otherwise, the book pages are clean and unmarked.

Book Summary

An enthralling story of love and betrayal, faith and doubt, The Message to the Planet tells of a charismatic thinker and healer and of the men and women whose destinies are inextricably linked with his.  At the novel's center is Marcus Vallar, a mathematician and philosopher, whereabouts unknown, who is pursued by his ardent but uncertain young disciple, Alfred Ludend.  Ludens believes Vallar has discovered a secret which is of vital importance to mankind.  His friends, the painter Jack Sheerwater and the ex-priest Gildas Herne, although once under Vallar's spell, are more skeptical.  Jack's wife. Franca, who lives in apparent cheerfulness in a menage a trois with Jack and his mistress, Alison, thinks Marcus is a dangerous monster.  But all agree he must be found, if only to rescue Patrick Fenman, a penniless Irish poet who is dying of a wasting disease which he believes to be the result of a curse Vallar has put on him.

When Vallar miraculously cures Patrick with a laying-on of hands, he sets in motion a tide of events that touches an ever-widening circle of characters, including his own beautiful and eccentric daughter, Irina, with whom Ludens falls in love, and the angelic Bostonian feminist Maisie Tether, who is bent on rescuing Franca from her loveless marriage.

Is Marcus a genius?  A saint?  A religious warrior?  Or just a madman?  Is he good or evil?  Can he raise a man from the dead?  Iris Murdoch's twenty-fourth novel describes the rise and fall of a frustrated metaphysician, and the bewildered striving of men and women confronted with the mysteries of being human.

ISBN:  0-670-82999-4

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