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Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

Mortality (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Christopher Hitchens

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7424112,554 (4.12)64
Authors:Christopher Hitchens
Info:Twelve (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 128 pages
Collections:Read in 2012, Your library

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Mortality by Christopher Hitchens (2012)

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Hitchens is very honest about death. He is also very honest about his disdain for sentimentality, self-pity, and denial. This book chronicles his experience of undergoing chemotherapy for esophageal cancer, and it quietly wrestles with the "bargain" of gaining a few extra months to live at the cost of independence, comfort, and wellbeing. Chapter V -- Hitchens account of losing his voice -- is alone worth the read.
  jamesshelley | Nov 22, 2015 |
Oddly enough, the discussion of the indignities of dying was really funny. The portion devoted to debunking Christians' beliefs was a bit overbearing. Ultimately, this was - literally - an unfinished book that would have been much improved had the author been able to finish it. ( )
  cherilove | Jun 18, 2015 |
The final masterpiece by the master. How fitting that the book that took his breath away took my breath away as well - with different results for us, of course. (Poignant for me was that my grandfather, for whom I am named, chronicled his own demise from cancer as well.) Aside from the usual awe of his inimitable wordsmithery, he shines in that he never gets maudlin. Specifically, he never gets into oh-woe-is-me reflections and concerns over whether or not each work and word would be his last. No, he scribbled notes and was churning his turbine mind constantly to the end. How sad that there will be a day when I will have read all his work, and there will be no more. Today is not that day, however. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
Terribly sad, honest and powerful. ( )
  heradas | May 31, 2015 |
A beautifully written set of essays by one of the world's best. It was interesting to see how his illness, while weakening him physically, never weakened his spirit and hard held beliefs. As someone that has never had someone terminally ill in my family, it also gave me some important insights in the the psyche of the ill and what not to do, no matter how encouraging it may seem. ( )
  plaeski | Dec 16, 2014 |
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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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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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"Courageous, insightful and candid thoughts on malady and mortality from one of our most celebrated writers"--Provided by the publisher.

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