Something Special was previously unpublished except in a 1950s anthology and in Japan, and rediscovered after her death. It is the only short story that Iris Murdoch ever wrote for publication.Set in Dublin, against the vividly recognisable backdrop of the writer's native city in the late fifties, Something Special is the story of Yvonne, an ordinary, bold young Irish woman who believes there's more to life than marriage to Sam, the respectable young man who's courting her. Written with verve and characteristic sly humour, it moves to a surprising climax and conclusion - a poignant, strangely haunting story about the incompatibility of dreams and desires.
Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin in 1919. She read Classics at Somerville College, Oxford, and after working in the Treasury and abroad, was awarded a research studentship in philosophy at Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1948 she returned to Oxford as fellow and tutor at St Anne's College and later taught at the Royal College of Art. Until her death in 1999, she lived in Oxford with her husband, the academic and critic, John Bayley. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1987 and in the 1997 PEN Awards received the Gold Pen for Distinguished Service to Literature. Iris Murdoch made her writing debut in 1954 with Under the Net. Her twenty-six novels include the Booker prize-winning The Sea, The Sea (1978), the James Tait Black Memorial prize-winning The Black Prince (1973) and the Whitbread prize-winning The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (1974). Her philosophy includes Sartre: Romantic Rationalist (1953) and Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (1992); other philosophical writings, including The Sovereignty of Good (1970), are collected in Existentialists and Mystics (1997).