<!--Novel article template : owned by Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels-->The Italian Girl
is a novel by Iris Murdoch
, first published in 1964.
Edmund has escaped from his family into a lonely life. Returning for his mother's funeral he finds himself involved in the same awful problems, together with some new ones. He also rediscovers the eternal family servant, the ever-changing "Italian girl".
Edmund Narraway returns to his family home, an old rectory in the north of England, for the cremation of his mother, Lydia. His brother, Otto, probably drunk, starts giggling during the service, and has to be taken outside. Edmund is disgusted rather than scandalised, yet he immediately finds himself fascinated by Otto's daughter, his own niece, who is now a teenager and, for the first time since Edmund last saw her, sexually mature. After the service Isabel, Otto's apparently neurotic wife, attempts to involve Edmund in her small and frustrated life. He at first refuses. When Edmund later talks to his self-pitying brother, he detects evidence of a sexual tension between Otto and his apprentice David Levkin. Isabel, Otto and Flora all implore Edmund to stay and help them, each for a different reason. In each case, Edmund seems at first untempted, reluctant to get involved, and aware of his own impotence against their troubles. It is finally Flora who gives Edmund a real reason, or excuse, to stay. She confides in him that she is pregnant... Read More