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Mortality (2012)

by Christopher Hitchens

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1,2766511,029 (4.08)69
"Courageous, insightful and candid thoughts on malady and mortality from one of our most celebrated writers"--Provided by the publisher.

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English (64)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (65)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Sometimes you run into something so profound that captivates you in ways you did not even anticipate were possible. Perhaps that is what Art is?
I can confidently say that this book is a must read.

I'll insult it no further by pretending to be worthy of an honest review. ( )
  SeekingApatheia | Apr 13, 2021 |
A surprisingly patient and sympathetic book about Hitchens own final time as a cancer patient before dying surrounded by his family and friends. Hitchens gives his own objections to God and intellectual peacemaking to instead making the most of his time with his family. He seems to have respected Pascal the most of the many philosophical figures whom Hitchens thinks worthy of consideration. Hitchens spends more than the usual amount of time reflecting on Nietzsche and then asking for some books by Chesterton. Hitchens tries to plumb the depths of his true feelings and not artificial constructs from established traditions of religious experience. An unusual book but short enough to gain insight from it, it one choses that path. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Jan 27, 2021 |
(59) This slim memoir of being diagnosed with advanced esophageal cancer from a famous commentator and essayist who died in 2011. Truth be told, I was not too familiar with Hitchens though it seems I should have been. Based on what little I gleaned of him from sources prior to reading the book, I expected this to be more profound. It is a loose collection of untitled essays billed as chapters about the horrendous realization of a life-threatening diagnosis followed by all the indignities of cancer treatment and decline. Topics that I too have lived though mercifully survived - I can certainly relate to the stark difference between the lands of 'Tumortown,' and 'Wellness.'

I suspect that this is not his best work and I am inspired to read more by him. His musings on religion tell the unvarnished truth that we are all betting against. I liked that there was not much sentimentality here - I have read some incredible books by authors that have intimate knowledge of death and dying (Paul Kalinithi's 'When Breath Becomes Air, and John Gunther's 'Death Be Not Proud,' come to mind) Hitchens is the first I've read that avoids the elegiac in favor of the prosaic. I sense that he had a lot more to say on the subject had he had the chance. ( )
  jhowell | Nov 26, 2020 |
I always enjoy reading Hitchens, though this, naturally, was a bittersweet experience. An eminently erudite and eloquent insight into the process of death. As with life, all too brief. ( )
  nick4998 | Oct 31, 2020 |
Christopher Hitchens never met a fight he didn't like, but he did meet one he couldn't win. Written during is battle with esophageal cancer, the book contains his thought on crossing into the land of the sick. I found myself especially moved over is concern of losing his voice and his ability to write, which for this man, would be worse than death. Anyone looking for a last minute change of heart on the God question will be disappointing, but then Christopher Hitchens wouldn't mind that at all. ( )
  Colleen5096 | Oct 29, 2020 |
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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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"Courageous, insightful and candid thoughts on malady and mortality from one of our most celebrated writers"--Provided by the publisher.

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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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