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JACKSON’S DILEMMA Iris Murdoch (Viking, $22.95) On the eve of their wedding, a message written in the bride’s hand is left for the groom under a doorway. The terse communication — ”I am very sorry, I cannot marry you” — sends a group of Londoners who have gathered in the country into a tailspin, for the bride, Marian, seems to have disappeared. Alternating focus from character to character, Murdoch explores the reactions of Marian’s friends, eventually revealing the chain of events that derailed the wedding. Sadly, this is one of the great novelist’s lesser efforts. As in much of her fiction, Murdoch poses many philosophical questions and uses them to illuminate the psyches of her characters. But she relies too heavily on the dramatic incident of the aborted wedding, which quickly loses steam. Indeed, as the characters crisscross frenetically with one another, the reader eventually regards them with little more than apathy. B