Henry and Cato

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Henry and Cato

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1rainpebble
gen. 21, 2013, 6:36pm

I misquoted the title in the first post. Sorry about that.

2rainpebble
gen. 21, 2013, 10:48pm

I will be beginning this one tonight when I head to bed. I have no idea what it is about and it is my first Murdoch though I have read bios on her and have seen a movie about her, shamefully I have not read any of her works. So I am thankful that I was invited to join this group.

3LizzieD
gen. 25, 2013, 5:34pm

So what do you think, Belva-mea?

4LyzzyBee
gen. 26, 2013, 1:02pm

Ah, it's a good one ... hope you enjoy!

5rainpebble
gen. 27, 2013, 2:46pm

I am enjoying it. I really love how she writes in this one but what with Orange January going on as well, I am finding it slow going. What I have read thus far Peggy, makes me think that she was quite brilliant. I am needing to read it slowly because otherwise I find I am going back over passages. I wish that I had begun reading her much earlier on.

6rainpebble
Editat: gen. 31, 2013, 12:48am

I have had to set Henry and Cato aside though I am enjoying it. I am only about 40 pages in, have been trying to read it off and on since the 21st but the size of the font is so small that my eyes have been constantly burning and blurring. I am going to see if the library has a copy and will continue on from there. Must be time for large print for me or a magnifying glass.
So as it stands I may be reading Iris every other month instead of monthly as all four of my Murdochs have the smaller print.

7LizzieD
feb. 1, 2013, 12:05pm

Ah yes, Belva. You must have a Penguin copy. I'm already shuddering at my The Philosopher's Pupil for that very reason. Since it's so long, I may not finish it until March.

8rainpebble
Editat: feb. 4, 2013, 8:51am

It is an old Penguin copy. I tried cheaters but though they made the print bigger I was unable to read it as I am nearsighted in one eye, farsighted in the other and to top it off they don't work together so I have a great deal of prism in both lenses. I am in the process of looking for a magnifying glass plus I think that during my last trip to Barnes and Noble I say magnifying plastic pages that you put over the page in the book you are reading. So one of those solutions should work for me. They don't have a copy of Henry and Cato at any of the branches of my library. I may end up having to pay the 10 bucks they want at the Kindle store.
I figure I will be doing good to read one Murdoch every couple of months. Good luck with your The Philosopher's Pupil Peggy.

9sibylline
Editat: feb. 2, 2013, 1:02pm

That must indeed make reading challenging, Belva, I admire your determination to figure something out. Hope those flat things work.

10labwriter
feb. 2, 2013, 3:47pm

I've never tried the magnifying pages; however, my MIL who lived to read and became increasingly challenged with poor eyesight as she got older, used something that looked like a ruler that magnified about two inches of the text at a time as she scrolled down the page. It worked very well for her.

I get so annoyed with that small Penguin type, especially in the older books.

Let us know if those flat magnifying pages work!

11rainpebble
feb. 4, 2013, 8:50am

Will do, but in the meantime as I was perusing some older books on my shelves you will never believe what fell out of one...... A plastic bookmark with a cutout for a plastic magnifying bit. I was astounded. Talk about perfect timing. And the magnifying piece is just the right size for those old mass market paperbacks 'that we so love to read'. (NOT!) But I am wondering, labwriter, if this is similar to what your MIL used.
Anyway I am back in business and Henry has just arrived back at the home place and is currently meeting with Mr. Merriman. Meanwhile back at the 'ranch' Cato is attempting to put 2 & 2 together and not coming up with much. I am wondering if Beautiful Joe will be a continuous character throughout the book and am hoping so. His is an interesting character albeit a conniving one.
So I am back to enjoying the Henry and Cato.

12sibylline
feb. 4, 2013, 10:17am

Yay, the Reading Muse (Clio maybe?) was watching over you.

13rainpebble
feb. 5, 2013, 12:56am

Perhaps and I am oh, so grateful. Henry is now having a quick visit with Cato in Cato's horrendous digs. Still not far in but it is very good and I think will get even better. Henry's mum is a cold one, eh?

14rainpebble
feb. 6, 2013, 1:27am

Just when I think I have something figured out, here comes the monkey wrench to make my head spin, settle back in, and float back into the story. I am really enjoying this read. I like most of the characters now that I am getting to know them and I must say that I really like how Murdoch grows her characters. The meeting of Henry and Collette had me laughing aloud.

15rainpebble
feb. 12, 2013, 4:55am

I finally completed Henry and Cato and I quite appreciated the read. I find Murdoch's writing to be rather mesmerizing and hated to put it down but my eyes bothered me terribly with the tiny print in the Penguin mass market edition I have and I would get to where I simply couldn't distinguish the letters.
She grows her characters very cleverly and very well. She is fairly descriptive about places as well as people and she showed quite a sense of humor in this story although there were some pretty intense situations throughout.
Also she takes you in one direction and you think you have figured out where she is taking you and BAM! That wasn't it at all. Not even close.
Lucy, in the The Severed Head thread, (that almost rhymes), used this quote from that book: "In almost every marriage there is a selfish and an unselfish partner. A pattern is set up and soon becomes inflexible, of one person always making the demands and one person always giving way." I don't know that Murdoch used the same words precisely in Henry and Cato but the same exact meaning was there and I will be curious as I continue to read her this year, if this is a common thread throughout her works.
I also found it very interesting that this book ends with exactly the same words it begins with and it suits both covers of the book quite well. "... in it's case, heavy and awkward inside his mackintosh pocket, banged irregularly against his thigh at each step." Quite interesting, that. And I don't believe I have come across it before.

16sibylline
feb. 12, 2013, 7:26pm

Yes, she is incredibly adept at leading one astray! Labyrinthine, you might say, with unexpected things popping up.

17rainpebble
feb. 13, 2013, 6:09pm

Henry and Cato by Iris Murdoch

Henry and Cato grew up childhood friends outside of London. Henry was raised with the silver spoon in his mouth, so to speak, for his family owned a manor with all that goes along with it. Even so his parents looked down on him as not being the perfect offspring which they thought his older brother Sandy to be. He grew up to go to University, get his teaching degree, moved to a small midwestern town in the U.S. and taught school there. Henry's father died and his mother Gerda, a very strong woman, is left with Sandy whom she idolized.
Cato, raised by his father along with his sister Colette, their mother being deceased, was rather looked down upon by his father as well. For Cato believed in God where his father John, though raised a Quaker & still attended Meeting, did not. Cato grew up to go into the priesthood and then became truly despised by his father. His mission work took him into the very pits of London. There he met not a lot of people of God but a lot of people who needed God and who needed his help. One in particular, a young man who went by Beautiful Joe, became so dependent upon Cato that he felt as if he was unable to function without the priest.
Henry, while in the U.S. was notified that Sandy had been killed in an auto accident and it was necessary for him to return 'to the manor born'. For in Sandy's will he had left everything, the manor and all of it's properties and monies to Henry. All of this made Gerda despise her remaining son even more for she wished that it had been Henry to die rather than Sandy. When Henry returned he and Cato came back into each others lives.
Henry is probably the most flat character of the story. The others are much more rounded. Murdoch grows her characters very cleverly and gives the reader a chance to watch them grow as well. She is fairly descriptive about places as well as the people in the book and she shows quite a sense of humor although there were some pretty intense situations throughout.
This story, I found quite fascinating in many areas. It is a story of love and obsession as well as a story of love and possession. It is a story of sweet love, compassion and contempt, kidnapping and killing. Murdoch takes you in one direction and you think you have figured out where she is taking you and BAM! That wasn't it at all. Not even close.

Sibyx, in the The Severed Head thread, used this quote from that book:

"In almost every marriage there is a selfish and an unselfish partner. A pattern is set up and soon becomes inflexible, of one person always making the demands and one person always giving way."

I don't know that Murdoch used the same words precisely in Henry and Cato but the same exact meaning was there. I will be curious, as I continue to read her throughout the year, if this is a common thread within her works.
I also found it very interesting that this book ends with exactly the same words it begins with and it suits both covers of the book quite well.

"... in it's case, heavy and awkward inside his mackintosh pocket, banged irregularly against his thigh at each step."

Quite interesting, that. I don't believe I have come across it before. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a read that is a bit different, to any who appreciate Murdoch and to those who desire to read her. I think it was a good one to cut my teeth on. I rated it a 4 star read.

18sibylline
feb. 20, 2013, 7:16am

Ah - what we are coming to expect from IM -- namely BAM!

Great review.

What is interesting to me is that even though in some ways her stories are variations on a theme (or so far, appear to be, I've read three) I am getting MORE interested rather than less.

19rainpebble
feb. 20, 2013, 7:59pm

Ditto me that Lucy!~!

Next up for me: Something Special, a novella

20LyzzyBee
feb. 21, 2013, 2:09am

Sibyx - exactly the reason people who love IM love IM!