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Elegy for Iris

John Bayley

Picador

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.
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.

REVIEWS

Praise for Elegy for Iris

"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
"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

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • John Bayley

  • 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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Elegy for Iris

John Bayley

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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