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Until Further Notice, I am Alive Hardcover – 5 Apr 2012
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Extraordinary ... It's hard, impossible, to précis this magical book: magical not by its author's intent but by what it achieves. He addresses one of the most ancient of philosophical questions - how should a man die? - with emotional assurance, a precise and kindly brutality of judgment, rare in the current rash of death-confessional writing. This is a book in a different class. More; it is a different class of thing. --Independent
Philosophy's big riddles get dramatised here in rich detail. Lubbock does not dwell on physical pain but he tries to track, with awesome stubbornness and lucidity, the gradual disintegration of his own speech patterns ... What gradually came on me as I read his notes and meditations was a sense that behind the witty and complicated man I very slightly knew, there stood a kind of hero of contemplation. --Guardian
A heart-rending, thrillingly intelligent book ... rich in all manner of wisdom ... Much of the book is written in the fine, elegant but no-nonsense style familiar to anyone who enjoyed his art reviews ... it is one of the best books of the last 300 years about how to die. --Literary Review
About the Author
Tom Lubbock, art critic and illustrator, was the chief art critic of the Independent from 1997 until his death in 2011. After studying Philosophy and English at Cambridge, he worked as a comedy writer and critic for radio, television and newspapers appearing on BBC2's The Late Show. His art writing includes a monograph on the 19th Century engraver Thomas Bewick, pieces for the journal Modern Painters and major catalogue essays on Goya and Ian Hamilton Finlay. Great Works, an anthology of 50 essays on individual paintings, will be published in October 2011. His illustrations, mainly done in collage, appeared every Saturday on the editorial page of the Independent between 1999 and 2004, and were exhibited in 2010 at Victoria Miro to wide acclaim.
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Not a "fun" read, but a fascinating, relatively short book nonetheless.
I have cried, trembled, smiled. I have acknowledged the author's vision of the world and also the way his brain would face the personal crisis, analytically and with a profound, concerned, even humorous affection for life's goods and evils.
There is an incredible depth and vastness, a fantasy and honesty, a sense of reality and imagination in Tom's suggestions.
Tom has left a gift to us all.
Not only in this diary have I recognized Tom's attitude towards life, but in his detailed descriptions I have also felt resonating his philosophical style of reasoning, his incredible approach to, and competence in the visual arts which used to characterize his speech.
Some observations, in the odd pages, have reminded me of Martin Heidegger, Eugene Ionesco, and William Blakes.
I think I have received this diary the way probably Tom Lubbock wanted us to perceive it: a legacy, a gift, a transversal existential message.
As a reader, I feel grateful of the self-reflexive effort Tom Lubbock has made, which is so meaningful also for us.
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