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Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

Mortality (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Christopher Hitchens

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8014711,418 (4.14)64
Authors:Christopher Hitchens
Info:Twelve (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 128 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Mempoir, Cancer, Essays

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Mortality by Christopher Hitchens (2012)


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Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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 |
A masterfully written, extremely honest, no-nonsense book about dying, or living dyingly, as Hitchens called it. He manages to argue and inform, to depress but also to inspire throughout the several essays that the book contains.

I'm sad that I introduced myself to Hitchens' writing through Mortality, but I'm also glad that there is so much more of his work left to read. He was a voice of reason if there ever was one.
  bartt95 | Apr 10, 2016 |
For those who may be put off by the more abrasive soundbytes of Hitchens' passionate atheism, I would suggest reading this thoughtful reflection on the experience of dying from (and living with) cancer. It heightens our awareness of "the things people say" around the dying, and questions some of those well-worn phrases about "battling cancer," "that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger," etc. We'll miss you, Chris. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
I read this before my own diagnosis of cancer (which I survived, unlike him, though we had two very different types of cancer), but it helped me a great deal once I was. I had nowhere near his strength to keep going, despite his condition being significantly worse than my own (even before his death, I mean). Sometimes the best way to appreciate life is to understand the annihilation that death eventually brings to us all. ( )
  Michael_Rose | Jan 10, 2016 |
I knew this book was going to be a difficult read when I picked it up. The surprising thing was that I picked it up at the small local library. Makes me wonder if they knew who Hitch was before adding it to their shelves. Maybe they did and that would seriously elevate them in my opinion.

The title, “Mortality”, pretty much tells you what the book is about. And given that it is written by Hitchens will tell anyone who knows anything about him that he handled this as he handled everything else he wrote or spoke about. With brutal honesty.

Through the short book, Hitchens takes us on the journey that was to be the rest of his life, the tests, the radiation, the sickness, the effects and tolls it takes on his body. Christopher Hitchens was diagnose with Esophageal cancer in 2010. To one of the most erudite speakers of modern times, I can’t imagine a worse place he could have been inflicted.

The book is hearbreaking in its honesty, as Hitchen’s not only recounts ancedotes from office visits, the treatements, the doctors, caregivers. He also shares the vileness that people can reach even when a person is down by sharing some of the hate mail he received, the betrayals of people baiting his misfortune to fuel their agenda, i.e. ending an interview with comments about just rewards from God,

Though I am not surprised, I am grateful to Hitchens for writing such a painfully honest book about dying, about the fraility of the human body and the very human scream that “I wasn’t finished yet!”
We lost a wordsmith of the highest degree when we lost Hitchens and a debater that knew few, if any rivals. And we lost a man who cared very deeply about his fellow human beings, his world and leaving it a better place than when he entered.

We haven’t heard the last from him though. He left many writings that haven’t been published. And his wife’s afterward tells you that she will begin to work on giving us all he wanted to share with the world.

Mortality is a brilliant book that will inflame you, touch you, bring a tear to your eye and a fire in your heart. Whether you believe, or don’t believe, as Christoper did, and even more if you do not, it will give you a glimpse into the true humanity of the man many know simply as “Hitch.”

http://sephipiderwitch.com/mortality-by-christopher-hitchens/ ( )
  sephibitchwitch | Jan 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (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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"Courageous, insightful and candid thoughts on malady and mortality from one of our most celebrated writers"--Provided by the publisher.

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