The Flight from the Enchanter was Iris Murdoch's second book, but it was my first introduction to my number-one writing hero, which made me long to also write about love and power and goodness and beauty and what makes up a human being. Suddenly, at the age of twenty, I wanted to say great things, like Murdoch, who, being a professor of philosophy, has a far greater claim to be able to write such things than I will ever have. However, if we can’t be inspired by the great exemplars, what hope is there?
Once I’d put down Enchanter, I went in search of all her other books, and then lay in constant wait for her to write the next, which she did, for years, every 18 or so months. Only her very last book, written while in the grip of Alzheimer’s, is not among my very favourite reads to this day. Enchanter isn’t her best book, for me that is The Sea The Sea, but it was the first I read. I loved Iris Murdoch from that moment on, and reading her made me think more deeply, write more avidly and dream great dreams.