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In the Slender Margin: The Intimate…

In the Slender Margin: The Intimate Strangeness of Death and Dying

by Eve Joseph

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A meditation on death and dying--including religious, mythological, anthropological, and some (just a few) medical musings about the endings of our human lives--Joseph's book put me in mind of poet Diane Ackerman's discursive nonfiction. The book has some of the strengths and (to my mind) suffers from some of the same (occasionally annoying) poetic excesses as Ackerman's. At times, the writing felt too pretty and precious to be genuine--drawing attention to itself rather than illuminating the subject. The title, however, really hits the mark: dying IS an act of intimate strangeness, and there ARE sections of the book in which Joseph--who has long worked in palliative care--does indeed convey this. Recommended with some reservations. ( )
  fountainoverflows | Dec 24, 2014 |
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"Like Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, an extraordinarily moving and engaging look at loss and death. Eve Joseph is an award-winning poet who worked for twenty years as a palliative care counselor in a hospice. When she was a young girl, she lost a much older brother, and her experience as a grown woman helping others face death, dying, and grief opens the path for her to recollect and understand his loss in a way she could not as a child. In the Slender Margin is an insider's look at an experience that awaits us all, and that is at once deeply fascinating, frightening, and in modern society shunned. The book is an intimate invitation to consider death and our response to it without fear or morbidity, but rather with wonder and a curious mind. Writing with a poet's precise language and in short meditative chapters leavened with insight, warmth, and occasional humor, Joseph cites her hospice experience as well as the writings of others across generations--from the realms of mythology, psychology, science, religion, history, and literature--to illuminate the many facets of dying and death. Offering examples from cultural traditions, practices, and beliefs from around the world, her book is at once an exploration of the unknowable and a very humane journey through the land of grief."--… (more)

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Arcade Publishing

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