The Black Prince is a 1973 novel by Iris Murdoch. I've enjoyed all the books I've read by this author. This one is a particular shocker, a stunning book.
"Only stories and magic really endure."
"Let those smile who have endured as long."from the back of the book:
A story about being in love The Black Prince is also a remarkable intellectual thriller with a superbly involuted plot, and a meditation on the nature of art and love and the deity who rules over both.The Toronto Review of Books has a review. The New York Times closes with this:
Bradley Pearson, its narrator and hero, is an elderly writer with a "block". Encompassed by predatory friends and relations -his ex-wife, her delinquent brother and a younger, deplorably successful writer, Arnold Baffin, together with Baffin's restless wife and youthful daughter- Bradley attempts escape.
His failure and its aftermath lead to a violent climax; and to a coda which casts a shifting perspective on all that has gone before.
But, all in all, fertile invention is put to the service of an expansive sense of character; and since "The Black Prince" also has Miss Murdoch's usual narrative energy and intellectual weight, it is the best novel she has written in years.