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Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
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Mortality (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Christopher Hitchens

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6253615,533 (4.09)61
Member:etxgardener
Title:Mortality
Authors:Christopher Hitchens
Info:Twelve (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 128 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Mempoir, Cancer, Essays

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Mortality by Christopher Hitchens (Author) (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
I've never read anything by Christopher Hitchens until I picked up "Mortality." From the very first powerful passages, the author's genius with words is evident. The book was short and understandably fragmented (the last section is a compilation of notes and insights penned by the author). My sense is that I would have appreciated this candid chronicle of a man facing death even more if I had been familiar with some of Hitchens' works. "Mortality" will inspire me to delve into some of his earlier books. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Jun 14, 2014 |
Obviously smart, understandingly scattered as these are the last pieces culled together into one volume as Hitchens slowly succumbed to cancer in 2011. Smart, sobering, compact. ( )
  marthaearly | Jun 6, 2014 |
It is difficult not to be moved by the words of a dying man, but it's even harder when those words come from a man who is so eloquent in his writing. These are the final writings of the late Christopher Hitchens and they hold very little back when describing exactly what it is to go through the attempt at fighting the cancer killing you from the inside. The words bring home the feeling of what it really means to face your own mortality, and I'm not sure anyone else could have put the open face on it the way only Christopher Hitchens did. While not always as uplifting and positive in the way Randy Pausch’s 'The Last Lecture' was, it is extremely honest.

This should be a must read for anyone who cares about the human condition while facing our mortality. It is a short read and does not require a large amount of time to complete. Included at the end are notes and snippets left behind that had not yet been turned into full writings and a final chapter from Chrostopher Hitchens wife. As she admits, in the end, Christopher Hitchens always had the last word, and does so again with this book. ( )
  speljamr | Apr 2, 2014 |
Brilliant, but best appreciated by someone who's been treated for cancer ( )
  Faradaydon | Dec 5, 2013 |
Mortality by Christopher Hitchens is a wonderful contemporary memento mori. While many of Hitchens's books are polemic, Mortality breathes the spirit of humanism, as it forms a quiet reflection on the authors' last months of life, in which contemplation of religion finds its place alongside literature.

The final chapters of unedited notes,give an insight in the process of writing, as they sharply contrast with the eloquence of the composition of the previous chapters.

Mortality is a dignified coda to a life of writing. ( )
2 vote edwinbcn | Dec 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (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, ChristopherAuthorprimary 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. (Foreword by Graydon Carter)
I have more than once in my time woken up feeling like death.
Onstage, my husband was an impossible act to follow. (Afterword by 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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