A melodious， affecting tribute to one of the greatest writers of her time--now stricken with Alzheimer s disease--by her devoted husband of over forty years "I was living in a fairy story--the kind with sinister overtones and not always a happy ending--in which a young man loves a beautiful maiden who returns his love but is always disappearing into some unknown and mysterious world， about which she will reveal nothing." So writes John Bayley about his wife， Iris Murdoch， considered by many to be one of the greatest living writers in the English-speaking world. In dreamlike passages， he recalls both his youthful love for an entrancing philosopher who stole his heart at Oxford s St. Antony s Dance in 1954， as well as their marriage， a union of two great minds， which resulted two years later. In examining this extraordinary relationship， which he describes in a language that resurrects the classical mythology of love， Bayley attempts to discover the real Iris， always so mysterious， who became beloved of readers with her incandescent novels like Unlike the Net， The Green Knight， and The Bell. But the harder he tries to know Iris， the more ineffable and protean she becomes， even more so after being diagnosed with Alzheimer s disease in 1994. Elegy for Iris is a remarkable memoir of our time， an ironically joyous story about the ephemeral beauty of youth and the sobering reality of what it means to grow old. Tolstoyan in its compassionate grasp of life s frailty， and mesmerizing inn its portrayal of one of the great literary romances of this century， Elegy for Iris is a consummate work of art.