01 June 2014

Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch by John Bayley

First of all:
the winner of the free book.
The winner is Fredrik J.  CONGRATULATIONS, Fredrik. Please contact me as soon as possible to let me know whether you want an e-Book copy or a proper book. I will also need your contact details.

There will be another giveaway later in the year, so keep your eyes open.

The book being reviewed this week is Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch by John Bayley. I read the book many years ago, and I was disappointed that the book concentrated more on the person Iris had become and not on the person she had been.

On the front cover are the words: 'The greatest love story of our age; incomparable'. I have read a few of the editorial reviews, and the feeling seems to be very much the same: a wonderful tribute to Iris Murdoch. I love Iris Murdoch's writing, and, over the years, I have read many of her novels. She was a gifted person, intellectually surpassing many of her peers. Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch interlaces all that was so positive about Iris Murdoch with the sadness and the degradation of the illness that finally ended her life. In fact, at times, I feel that, in the book, the greatness of Iris Murdoch becomes obliterated by long descriptions of her inability to think and/or communicate as she used to be able to think/communicate. The book is frightfully sad, and it left me wondering as to what its main purpose might have been. Perhaps it is a love story, but I feel that a true love story would have concentrated much more on Iris as she really was, not on the person she became because of a devastating illness.


  1. Fredrik J01 June, 2014

    That was real cool. Usually I never win anything. Thank you. I have emailed you all my details.

  2. What a sad book it seems to be! I agree that a book claiming to celebrate her love and her life should have allowed her personality and achievements to shine...
    Perhaps the title should have been something like: "John Bayley wallows in Iris Murdoch's final years"

  3. I agree. Yet, when I read all the gushing comments about the book, I had to wonder if, perhaps, the book I read was not the same book as everyone else had read. I suppose everything has to do with perspective and how one wants things to be. I am sure that he loved her (he was her husband), but I feel that there should have been much less emphasis on her decline - it could have been relegated to a chapter at the end of the book...