Elegy for Iris

( 2 )

Overview

With remarkable tenderness, John Bayley recreates his passionate love affair with Iris Murdoch—world-renowned writer and philosopher, and his wife of forty-two years—and poignantly describes the dimming of her brilliance due to Alzheimer's disease. Elegy for Iris is a story about the ephemeral beauty of youth and the sobering reality of what it means to grow old, but its ultimate power is that Bayley discovers great hope and joy in his celebration of Iris's life and their love. In its grasp of life's frailty and ...

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Elegy for Iris

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Overview

With remarkable tenderness, John Bayley recreates his passionate love affair with Iris Murdoch—world-renowned writer and philosopher, and his wife of forty-two years—and poignantly describes the dimming of her brilliance due to Alzheimer's disease. Elegy for Iris is a story about the ephemeral beauty of youth and the sobering reality of what it means to grow old, but its ultimate power is that Bayley discovers great hope and joy in his celebration of Iris's life and their love. In its grasp of life's frailty and its portrayal of one of the great literary romances of this century, Elegy for Iris is a mesmerizing work of art that will be read for generations.

The noted literary critic & novelist recounts his life with, and love for, the renowned author Iris Murdoch, who in the last years of her life suffered from Alzheimer's.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This splendid book enlarges our imagination of the range and possibilities of love." —Mary Gordon, The New York Times Book Review

"Magnificently, hauntingly humane." —Michael Pakenham, The Baltimore Sun

"Bayley's restrained and elegant love song to his wife of 42 years . . . is beautiful and heartbreaking. Full of spirit, generous and resilient." —Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe

"A beautifully rendered portrait . . . Bayley reaffirms how suffering can ennoble the human heart. [Elegy for Iris] is an affecting remembrance of one of the great literary marriages of our time. It celebrates the victory of life—and love." —Wendell Brock, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"A heart-melting love story and an erudite inquiry into the nature of personality, memory, and invention. Wise and full of grace." —Shelby Hearon, The Chicago Tribune

"Elegy for Iris is a work of art. As beautiful as it is wise, Elegy for Iris has already become a classic memoir and a remedy for modern love. Read it and, if you dare, give it to someone you love." -Tom D'Evelyn, Providence Sunday Journal

"Here, between the covers of an incredible book, is love . . . that doesn't hedge, love for which there are no ready outs, love that feels as inevitable as breathing, and the result is stunning." —Abraham Verghese,The Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Heartfelt and admirably unsentimental . . . a testament to a love that has endured and transcended the most terrifying ravages of illness and old age." —Francine Prose, Elle

"In Elegy for Iris I find my mother and father, my wife's parents, our friends, and us. I find shared lives, and hurts and forgivenesses, and joys that are greatest because nobody else knows them." —Dan Rather

Boston Globe
"ELEGY FOR IRIS is beautiful and heartbreaking...a love poem writ in melancholy, an ode to the past and the stratosphere of commitment that such a past ensures."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312253820
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 11/1/1999
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 608,964
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

John Bayley is an eminent literary critic who taught at Oxford for more than 30 years, and was chairman of the Booker Prize Committee. Iris Murdoch died in February of 1999.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Touching and brilliant

    A touching and heartfelt tribute to Iris Murdoch that everyone should read...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2005

    Untouchable Illusion

    This is a lovely book about the wonder of life and a horrible disease yet, for the life of me, I cannot write a definitive description. It is one of those books that you finish reading and realize that you have read about love, youth, adventure, old age, and disease. I loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2002

    Gently Slipping Away From Reality

    I read this memoir just before seeing the film, 'Iris.' It prepared me for what I would see and helped me to understand both Iris and her husband and the situation they found themselves in. While reading this book and watching the film, I couldn't help but think that Iris Murdoch had done everything right: she was educated, well read and a prolific writer and yet none of that helped her to avoid the deteriating effect of Alzheimer's. Iris also had the benefit of being her own person (at a time when few women could accomplish this) while enjoying a close and satisfying relationship with her husband. Perhaps all the above held off Iris' deteriation for a time. We'll never know.

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