Elegy for Iris: A Review

“We can only learn to love by loving.” —Iris Murdoch I’ve just read John Bayley’s Elegy for Iris, his moving memoir of his wife, renowned British novelist Iris Murdoch—26 novels in addition to nonfiction—who succumbed to Alzheimer’s in 1999 at 79. How does something like this happen? We’re told that we may ward off Alzheimer’s scourge by exercising our brains via mental pursuits like puzzles, … Continue reading Elegy for Iris: A Review

My Best Reads for 2015

My thirst for good reads continued in 2015, and among them, two stand out for special praise in providing me with pleasure, insight, and continuing reflection. (I’ve reviewed both more fully elsewhere in Brimmings.) Fiction:   John Williams. Stoner (New York Review of Books Classics) My choice is probably subliminal and inevitable, as not since David Copperfield have I identified with a fictional character so fully … Continue reading My Best Reads for 2015

Why some writers succeed and others don’t

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel (Maya Angelou).   I like to read and I read omnivorously, whether fiction or non-fiction. I marvel at the talent and effort that lies behind all good writing, the courage of writers to pursue their craft, given the minuscule few … Continue reading Why some writers succeed and others don’t

Peter Matthiessen: Homegoing

We lost a great writer, Peter Matthiessen, this past weekend. A co-founder of the renowned Paris Review and author of thirty-three books, both fiction and non-fiction, his supreme subject was Nature and, sadly, Man’s pervasive impact upon it: Species appear, and left behind by a changing earth, they disappear forever, and there is a certain solace in the inexorable. But until man, the highest predator, … Continue reading Peter Matthiessen: Homegoing