Monday, October 29, 2012


Morning of the biopsy, wake and say whatever happens this is the last day of my old life. No pretense of youth or youthfulness anymore. From now on an arduous awareness.
Mortality is the last book by Christopher Hitchens. It is a thin black volume mostly constituted by writing that previously appeared in Vanity Fair. In fact the foreword was written by the editor of the magazine, Graydon Carter. Hitchens displays an undiminished commitment to kicking against the pricks, up to the last minute of his conscious life. Early in his career, he railed against right-wing extremists, later those on the left. Finally it was the religious fundamentalists who took the full brunt of his intellectual vigour. Of course, it didn’t help that some extremist Christians publicly announced that his esophageal cancer was an act of God because he spoke for atheism, or rather anti-theism, the categorical opposition to the belief in any and all deities.

He writes powerfully about being suddenly stricken cancer and all of its implications and impact, such as how people treat him differently, the terrible devastation of body, and trying to strike a balance being ready for death while ferociously fighting for life. There is also lots about his life, appetites, and passions. Mortality is unflinchingly funny, dark, witty, and unsentimental.

- Ken

See also our Bookshelf Review of Mortality.

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