“Mortality” by Christopher Hitchens (Twelve, 2012)

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With the passing of popular author Christopher Hitchens on December 15, 2011, the world lost a powerful voice in the writing world.  It began for Hitchens on June 8, 2010 while on a book tour when he was brought down by extreme pain in his chest and throat.  It was then that he was diagnosed with cancer, and began a rigorous series of treatments and chemo therapy to try to get rid of the cancer and bring him on the road to recovery.

It was a long hard struggle, and while at points Hitchens’ health did seem to improve, ultimately the cancer was too much for him.  Mortality is a collection of his writings and award-winning columns published in Vanity Fair.  They are his notes, thoughts and ideas, philosophies on life and his swiftly approaching mortality.  They are unavoidably moving when one considers who is writing down these words, akin to Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture.

Some might be looking to see if this staunch atheist turned to some divine deity as the days of his life grew short, but there is little in here of that; it is more the words of a man who knows he will soon die, and what that means to him, his wife, his family, his friends.  In the afterword, his wife recounts how he was always the one to have the last word, and now she is doing the job . . . and yet she admits, this isn’t really true, as every time she picks up a book from their great library, in the margins and on the blank pages, she finds Hitchens’ words everywhere.

Originally written on October 23, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Mortality from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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