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BOOK OF THE MONTH
IMMUNE: A JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTERIOUS SYSTEM THAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE
Philipp Dettmer
1299

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Iris and the Friends
John Bayley

Classification : Biography & Memoir
Pub Date : Sep 07, 2000
Imprint : Abacus
Page Extent : 288
Binding : PB
ISBN : 9780349113104
Price : 575

About the book
After more than three years of suffering from Alzheimer's disease, the novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch died in January 1999. Early that month she was taken to a home for the terminally ill, and she remained radiant and calm for the last weeks of her life. The last year or so of Iris Murdoch's life provides the framework for IRIS AND THE FRIENDS, but within this structure John Bayley returns repeatedly to memories of his own earlier life, and of more than forty years of marriage to Iris. Alzheimer's is a lonely predicament for the carer, and Bayley describes how he copes with the ordeal of watching his wife become terminally ill by forming a growing dependency on memory as a stand-by, consolation and friend. In the final chapters, Bayley describes his wife's death which was an entirely serene one. He writes of how he is learning to cope with the loss of Iris, and how he is creating a new life for himself. Partly an autobiography, partly the biography of a marriage, IRIS AND THE FRIENDS provides a sensitive and, at times, a gently humourous lesson in the uses of adversity and will enthrall those fans of IRIS who wanted to know more about Bayley himself.
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'The lack of sentimentality or self-pity gives his book its power.' FINANCIAL TIMES
'It is a gentle read, sometimes moving, often funny- perfect for a Sunday afternoon.' THE TIMES
'A remarkable and lightly idiosyncratic book, almost as impossible to categorise as it is to put down.' MAIL ON SUNDAY
'The devastating honesty of this book will be helpful to others in a similar position. I have no doubt about that, but funnily enough, the reason I shall be dippint into it and re-reading it is for the masterly and subtle way in which Bayley describes the workings of the inner life... [Bayley is] an extroadinarily distinctive and orignal man.' A.N Wilson, DAILY MAIL
'The abiding impression this book makes is of an enduring and understanding love- a remarkable true marriage.' DAILY TELEGRAPH
'A companion volume to IRIS, which will be enganced as well as extended by it. It is a remarkable achievement, to turn such recent pain so rapidly and naturally into art.' TLS
'Bayley puts [life with Iris] on paper so directly you can't stop your tears' SCOTSMAN
'John Bayley's 'year of memories' shows just how important friends can be in times of crisis' TIME OUT
     
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.
Books by John Bayley
Good Companions (PB)
Iris (PB)
Russian Short Stories (ed. John Bayley) (PB)
The Iris Trilogy Iris, , Iris and the Friends , Widower's House (PB)