Author and literary critic John Bayley was married to novelist Iris Murdoch until her death in February 1999. In this memoir he recounts their life together, up to and including their realization that Dame Iris was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
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: 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.