Mortality

Christopher Hitchens

Book - 2012

Throughout the course of his ordeal battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly and bravely refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. In a riveting account of his affliction, Hitchens poignantly describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us. By turns personal and philosophical, Hitchens embraces the full panoply of human emotions.

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BIOGRAPHY/Hitchens, Christopher
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Subjects
Published
New York : Twelve 2012.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
xv, 104 p. ; 20 cm
ISBN
9781455502752
1455502758
Main Author
Christopher Hitchens (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* For his millions of fans, Hitchens was like a valued dinner guest who never outstayed his welcome. His books, magazine columns, and verbal sparring rounds with the God-fearing best and brightest will stand as hymns to reason, and their smartly barbed rationality will never become tired or trite. Unfortunately, Hitchens has prematurely vacated his place at the table, leaving us wanting more. And here is more. Spare as it is and culled from several of his final Vanity Fair columns, this pamphlet-like tome resurrects great wit and insight from his final year of "living dyingly." It would not be classic Hitchens unless he tackled prayer head-on. He does so brilliantly, quoting Ambrose Bierce and following prayer's logic to its circular conclusion. He addresses proper cancer etiquette and the best way to offer advice (don't). With a foreword by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and an afterword by Hitchens' widow, Carol Blue, this offers a final course, a dessert, if you will, from the crusty yet tenderhearted atheist to be read and relished. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Diagnosed with the esophageal cancer to which he eventually succumbed in December 2011, cultural critic Hitchens found himself a finalist in the race of life, and in his typically unflinching and bold manner, he candidly shares his thoughts about his suffering, the etiquette of illness and wellness, and religion in this stark and powerful memoir. Commenting on the persistent metaphor of battle that doctors and friends use to describe his life with cancer (most of this book was published in Vanity Fair), Hitchens mightily challenges this image, for "when you sit in a room... and kindly people bring a huge transparent bag of poison and plug it into your arm, and you either read or don't read a book while the venom sack gradually empties itself into your system, the image of the ardent soldier is the very last one that will occur to you." As a result of his various treatments, Hitchens begins to lose his voice, which, given his life as public gadfly through writing and speeches, devastates him. "What do I hope for? If not a cure, then a remission. And what do I want back? In the most beautiful apposition of two of the simplest words in our language: the freedom of speech." Hitchens's powerful voice compels us to consider carefully the small measures by which we live every day and to cherish them. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Traces the author's battle with esophageal cancer while he continued to write columns on politics and culture for "Vanity Fair," and describes his personal and philosophical view of life and death.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Courageous, insightful and candid thoughts on malady and mortality from one of our most celebrated writers"--Provided by the publisher.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The author Hitch-22 describes his losing battle with esophageal cancer while writing columns for Vanity Fair on politics and culture and also describing his personal and philosophical view of life and death. 12,5000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax. As he would later write in the first of a series of award-winning columns for Vanity Fair, he suddenly found himself being deported "from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady." Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis. Throughout the course of his ordeal battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly and bravely refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. In this riveting account of his affliction, Hitchens poignantly describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us. By turns personal and philosophical, Hitchens embraces the full panoply of human emotions as cancer invades his body and compels him to grapple with the enigma of death.Mortality is the exemplary story of one man's refusal to cower in the face of the unknown, as well as a searching look at the human predicament. Crisp and vivid, veined throughout with penetrating intelligence, Hitchens's testament is a courageous and lucid work of literature, an affirmation of the dignity and worth of man.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax. As he would later write in the first of a series of award-winning columns for Vanity Fair, he suddenly found himself being deported "from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady." Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis.Throughout the course of his ordeal battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly and bravely refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. In this riveting account of his affliction, Hitchens poignantly describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us. By turns personal and philosophical, Hitchens embraces the full panoply of human emotions as cancer invades his body and compels him to grapple with the enigma of death.MORTALITY is the exemplary story of one man's refusal to cower in the face of the unknown, as well as a searching look at the human predicament. Crisp and vivid, veined throughout with penetrating intelligence, Hitchens's testament is a courageous and lucid work of literature, an affirmation of the dignity and worth of man.