John Bayley's account of his long and loving marriage to the great novelist Iris Murdoch takes us on a journey, from their love affair's comically inauspicious beginnings in the Oxford of the early fifties (Bayley courted Iris on account of her unchallenging plain looks and their first date consisted of a revolting dinner followed by a disastrous dance when Iris sprained her ankle) to its slow and painful closure when the onset of Alzheimer's more than forty years later, which should be devastating. Yet as Bayley charts the gradual dissolution of Iris's remarkable intellect side by side with the detail of their gloriously eccentric and profoundly satisfying life together, what emerges is the complex portrait of an enigmatic and brilliant woman and of a marriage of quite extraordinary, unforced happiness, and some remarkable insight into the richly mysterious symbolism of Iris Murdoch's novels. Wry, intelligent, and unexpectedly hilarious, IRIS is an unforgettable inquiry into the nature of love and identity and a uniquely moving articulation of loss.
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This is the greatest love story of our age. Incomparable OBSERVER A beautiful testament of love IRISH TIMES A joyous paean to his beloved... This is a brave and poignant portrait of a very English marriage between a brilliant couple...the heartbreaks here recoreded are balanced against the joys of a lifetime's companionship with a partner who has clearly never ceased to be an object of adoration. THE TIMES A unique glimpse into the alchemy of marriage ... a work of art Victoria Glendinning, DAILY TELEGRAPH
About John Bayley
John Bayley is the author of ALICE, THE QUEER CAPTAIN, GEORGE'S LAIR and THE RED HAT. He was Warton Professor of English at the University of Oxford and is a fellow of St Catherine's College.
Iris: A memoir of Iris Murdoch by John Bayley
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Little, Brown Book Group
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