Wife Sentences

Ironically, my dentist was himself on a Canary holiday when we got home, but on his return, he regaled me with warning stories. Watch out for your dog if you are a denture wearer, he told me: the Airedale belonging to one of his patients had once found and eaten his master's set. He also tried to cheer me up by pointing out the timelessness of tooth acrylic: It is the last thing to go in the crematorium. My teeth, uncorrupted, would lie five fathom in the harbour ooze forevermore.

John Bayley and Iris Murdoch: His memoir illuminates the jealousies of a man forced to play second fiddle to his wife.
John Bayley and Iris Murdoch: His memoir illuminates the jealousies of a man forced to play second fiddle to his wife.

Details

Elegy for Iris
By John Bayley
St. Martin's Press, 275 pp., $22.95
Buy this book

Elegy for Iris will probably not endure quite so long. Neither will Iris, or Bayley, or anyone who happens to read his book, though the particular customs and traditions that brought us all together will go on. That's Bayley's point. It's a sentimental point, if not simply a conservative one— but then again Iris Murdoch wasn't exactly a radical writer herself, so in this aspect Elegy for Iris serves its subject faithfully.

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