Jake Donaghue, garrulous artist, meets Hugo Bellfounder, silent philosopher.
Jake, hack writer and sponger, now penniless flat-hunter, seeks out an old girlfriend, Anna Quentin, and her glamorous actress sister, Sadie. He resumes acquaintance with the formidable Hugo, whose 'philosophy' he once presumptuously dared to interpret. These meetings involve Jake and his eccentric servant-companion, Finn, in a series of adventures that include the kidnapping of a film-star dog and a political riot on a film set of ancient Rome. Jake, fascinated, longs to learn Hugo's secret. Perhaps Hugo's secret is Hugo himself? Admonished, enlightened, Jake hopes at last to become a real writer.
"Murdoch, a philosophy don at Oxford, was that rarity, a philosophical novelist who could create real characters, not premises with names attached . . . Right out of the gate she displayed all her sinuous gifts--her questing mind, her comic skepticism, her wildly entangled plots." --Time, "All-Time 100 Novels"
"Under the Net announces the emergence of a brilliant talent." --Times Literary Supplement
"Of all the novelists that have made their bow since the war she seems to me to be the most remarkable-behind her books one feels a power of intellect quite exceptional in a novelist." --Sunday Times
"A dazzling story, light and comic in touch." --The Times (London)