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Mortality by [Hitchens, Christopher]
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Mortality Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 185 customer reviews

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Length: 129 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

His unworldly fluency never deserted him, his commitment was passionate, and he never deserted his trade. He was the consummate writer, the brilliant friend. In Walter Pater's famous phrase, he burned 'with this hard gem-like flame.' Right to the end. --Ian McEwan

[Hitchens's] voice remains civilised, searching and ready to vanquish all his enemies. --Colm Tóbín

A trenchant, learned, iconoclastic and splendidly witty commentator on public life and, as here, on his own private triumphs and travails... unremittingly elegant, a master of graceful prose. --John Banville



Characteristic of his elegant wit: philosophical, literary, ironic, sardonic, reflective and resentful. --The Times



Hitchens's account of his climb to extinction is Larkinesque, and not only because his sentences stay in the mind as firmly as good poetry. --Literary Review



Hitchens's traditional strengths - his mastery of irony, his range of reference, his contempt for euphemism - are all in evidence here but there is a timeless, aphoristic quality to these essays that distinguishes them from his writings on politics and literature. --New Statesman



Apart from the obvious sense of denoument, what makes [Hitchens's] last seven essays so potent... is their struggle towards the shattering of illusion... The true struggle of his last writings is to remain himself, deep in the country of the ill, for as long as he can.--Observer



Witty, thoughtful and refreshingly irritable. --Evening Standard



Shocking, intimate and astute, Mortality is a memoir like no other. --Irish Independent

About the Author

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a columnist for Slate. He was the author of numerous books, including works on Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, George Orwell, Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger and Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as his international bestseller and National Book Award nominee, god Is Not Great. His memoir, Hitch-22, was nominated for the Orwell Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 332 KB
  • Print Length: 129 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1455502766
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (25 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006VSP906
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 185 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #55,956 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most of us have had contact with cancer in our lives - we've either experienced it firsthand or know (or known) a family member or friend who has had it - and in each instance it's been horrible, an experience unlikely to provide you with much and likely to take a lot from you, if not everything. But most of us aren't Christopher Hitchens - if fact none of us are, and that's why we know who was. He was a unique voice whose essays, columns, articles, and books made the person reading them much more enriched having read them.

"Mortality" is his last book (though I'm sure further anthologies of unpublished material will appear in the years ahead) detailing his fatal encounter with esophageal cancer, from discovering it while on a book tour promoting his memoir "Hitch 22", to the final pages which are scraps of notes for future (and now forever unwritten) writings.

But it's not a sad book. Hitchens was ruthless in his approach to subjects and he is no less so when dealing with himself and "the alien" (which is how he characterises his cancer) - no sentimentality or feeling sorry for himself is allowed on the page.

He is informative, funny, and stubborn all at once when writing on the reaction among religious groups when news of his cancer was reported with some Christians instigating a "Pray for Hitch" day - a day he encourages everyone to ignore. He also reinforces his atheist position, almost aggressively, writing "What if I pulled through and the pious faction contentedly claimed that their prayers had been answered? That would somehow be irritating." As if he wanted to die to once more further his argument that there is no God!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very poignant read. Read it from start to finish in one go.....very sad and funny in equal measures. A serious talent was Mr. Hitchens and only he could have wrote this book. Brilliant.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
good read
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My hero who has left us bereft of his genius to soon
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It comes as no surprise that one of the most remarkable troublemakers and polemicists this country has ever produced didn't leave without having a few important things to say. The late great Christopher Hitchens used the pages of Vanity Fair during his full frontal battle against a tumor in his esophagus to apply the maxim of Dylan Thomas to "rage, rage against the dying of the light". But you also sense throughout the pages of "Mortality", a book collecting those very special essays, that Hitchens instinctively felt that this was one argument he wasn't going to win. As such his tangle with death is a level headed but poignant dalliance with the slow degradation of a body which graphically charts the "wager" with chemotherapy taking "your taste buds, your ability to concentrate, your ability to digest and the hair on your head". He is painfully honest and reflective throughout about his predicament not least the "gnawing sense of waste" and the reality of becoming an early "finalist in the race of life". Yet it wouldn't be Hitchens if the opportunity for settling some old scores was not taken and in particular his restatement of his vociferous views on atheism despite the fact that September 20th 2010 was designated by one religious website in the States as "Everyone pray for Hitchens day".

Others were less charitable for in some quarters the onset of Hitchens illness produced a vicious form of schadenfreude not least amongst his many enemies in the US Christian right where his strong opinions on religion had provoked and outraged those not prepared to countenance any debate. He quotes an opinion from an American religious blog that viewed his throat cancer as "Gods revenge for him using his voice to blaspheme him".
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Format: Paperback
A slim volume of 95 pages by CH with 9 pages of foreword by Graydon Carter and 9 of afterword by CH's wife Carole Blue. Slim, but as always with CH, quality triumphs over quantity. He discovers he has been invaded by a virulent form of cancer. He describes it as an alien. The writing flows with rich irony and humour in his search for insight, information and understanding of the alien. For me the beauty, value and challenge of CH's writing is to read and re-read his sentences until I comfortably feel I am moving at his speed and journeying through the richness of his ideas and perceptions. This book is no exception. I did not see, at all, CH as describing his 'pain' as a cancer sufferer, although of course he does describe painful periods. I felt throughout that he was meeting the alien head on and journeying with it as it took him from the country of the well across a border to the land of the malady. He rejects Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's stage theory that posits the stages we go through when we are confronted by death, betrayal and taxes - denial, rage etc. I laughed out loud (ish) when he contemplated the dumb question 'Why me?' and the cosmos (the abyss?) barely bothered to reply "Why not you?" I will not say sadly missed because ..... it goes without saying.
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