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Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

Mortality (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Christopher Hitchens

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1,002498,537 (4.1)67
Authors:Christopher Hitchens
Info:Twelve (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 128 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:religion, atheism

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Mortality by Christopher Hitchens (2012)


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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Not my usual type of read. In fact I have never come across any Christopher Hitchens before. Perhaps I have been living under a rock, which is quite likely since I have not had a TV hooked up to receive a signal from anywhere aside from my home media centre since 2007. I prefer to read and not be dictated to by a broadcaster, or I'll choose what I want to watch from my own collection. In this instance I am glad I chose to read. What a dry wit, I'd like to hear a conversation between Hitchens and Alexander Pope. This small piece of writing might not be everyone's cup of tea but it is open, it is honest and gives an insight into the character of the man, who displayed through these words the ability to certainly "live dyingly" with dignity and conviction, and have his readers understand what that means. Now I'm off to YouTube to listen to a debate or two. ( )
  KatiaMDavis | Dec 19, 2017 |
A good read (no surprise, it is Hitchens after all) but it lacks real meat. It is very short and I am wary of being too critical of it considering Hitchens was writing right up until his final days. But it doesn't really address the concept of 'mortality' and of coming to terms with death; there is no running theme or argument that Hitch is building. Rather, the book is more like a series of dispatches from the frontline of a battle with cancer. This is fine, as he does have some things worth saying, but it is not quite as essential, as clear-sighted, as classic Hitchens. In Mortality, he continues to write engagingly and occasionally poignantly, with unflinching resolve and - somewhat surprisingly - humour, but it lacks the force and focus of his better works. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Mar 20, 2017 |
The author details his dying experience. This is not up to the standard of his usual prose, but it is difficult to write about dying, I imagine. Much of this was bits that were compiled after his death, and the introduction is a moving tribute to a man who both inspired and infuriated millions (often at the same time). His political commentary is limited here, but he does include a chapter on those who pray for him, and wish his conversion. A fighter to the end, he gives some interesting insight into the decision to poison your body for the possibility of a few more months, and whether it is worth it. It is always difficult watching someone die, even if you're only doing it in words. ( )
  Devil_llama | Dec 16, 2016 |
Wow.. That's all I can say, other than a true intellectual is gone. ( )
  Deankut | Sep 26, 2016 |
Wow. He did it. He did dying just as he did living.
He faced his mortality with a steadfast gaze, as well as his trademark wit, humour, and incessant curiosity. His real most deep-seated fear was of losing his ability to express himself, of not being able to talk or to write.
He does still get the last word. I love that this book comes out posthumously. It's as if he is talking to us right now: "And another thing!"
His wife Carol Blue wrote a moving afterword in which she described their 'new world', that world which lasted for nineteen months until the end. Of the day of his 'presentation', in which the tumour declared itself, she describes their transition: "We were living in two worlds. The old one, which never seemed more beautiful, had not yet vanished; and the new one, about which we knew little except to fear it, had not yet arrived." This reminds me of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's terrific book [b:Cancer Ward|254316|Cancer Ward|Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328028751s/254316.jpg|3202343], in which Time and Memory were classed as "before cancer" and "after cancer".
What I admire most is his perseverance to his craft. Writing really was his reason for living. The way he did his last 19 months, and this book, was about as good a goodbye as anyone could ever hope for for themselves.
A toast to a life well lived and well written, and to this most fitting finale. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
The book takes us on the journey from June of 2010 (when Hitchens was diagnosed) to December of 2011 (when he died). What a beautiful, awful journey it was. Samuel Johnson said that "The prospect of being hanged focuses the mind wonderfully." Hitchens was not being hanged, unless you mean that metaphorically, but his literate mind stayed focused and articulate. He goes into the rich detail of his body becoming a "reservoir of pain," meditates on the old wheeze that pain makes us better people, offers thoughts on whether the phrase "the war on cancer" is appropriate, and reveals that near the end he became a willing morphine junky: "How happily I measured off my day as I saw the injection being readied."
Being in Christopher’s company was rarely sobering, but always exhilarating. It is, however, sobering and grief-inducing to read this brave and harrowing account of his “year of living dyingly” in the grip of the alien that succeeded where none of his debate opponents had in bringing him down.

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hitchens, Christopherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blue, CarolAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carter, GraydonForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
At a dinner in Los Angeles this spring, a young actor named Emile Hirsch came up to me in a state of high excitement.
—Graydon Carter
I have more than once in my time woken up feeling like death.
Onstage, my husband was an impossible act to follow.
—Carol Blue
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Book description
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.

[retrieved 5/7/2014 from Amazon.com]
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