From his diagnosis of esophageal cancer in June 2010 until he passed away in December 2011 at the age of 62, legendary writer, journalist, and powerhouse public intellectual Christopher Hitchens managed to finish one last book. As a Contributing Editor for VANITY FAIR, Hitchens published several essays for VF during his final 18 months in which he chronicled his experience with cancer, as well as his philosophy on life and death. It is this collection that has been edited to form his brand new posthumous book MORTALITY.
In a feature for The Boston Globe published earlier this morning, Michael Washburn writes: “As a subgenre, the illness memoir is peculiar. What draws readers to such books isn’t a desire to comprehend the author’s suffering, which isn’t really possible, but to see how an author considers his pain. Of course, most illness memoirs tend to be written after recovery, not during final descent, lending such books an air of post-hoc, feel-good rationalization. Hitchens wasn’t graced with the chance to write about his illness after recovery, but surely his refusal to rationalize would have remained as steadfast as in this slim volume. ‘To the dumb question ‘Why me?,’’ he writes, ‘the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: ‘Why not?’”
Hitchens’ widow, Carol Blue, appeared on CBS This Morning last Friday where she spoke with Charlie Rose about her husband’s final months as well as his book MORTALITY. As Blue tells Charlie, the book was Christopher’s passion project throughout his “year of livingly dying.” You can watch Charlie Rose’s interview with Carol Blue below, as well a his one-hour interview with Hitchens himself which took place on August 23, 2010. You can also pick up your own copy of MORTALITY on Amazon. For the very best from Christopher Hitchens be sure to visit Christopher Hitchens on FEELguide.