Sep 23, 2012

Christopher Hitchens' Mortality

MortalityMortality by Christopher Hitchens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful and sad book by the great literary wit of our time. His poisonous, poorly argued, and completely out-of-character God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything notwithstanding, Hitchens was inspiring on a number of levels.

This short collection includes seven short essays and some fragments written while he "lived dyingly" after being diagnosed with the cancer that took his life, plus a lovely afterward by his wife and a fitting forward by his editor.

I appreciated reading his thoughts regarding mortality, but I found that my sadness about his lack of faith and his rejection of God kept me from fully enjoying the wit and insight on display. Yet it was well worth the short time it took to read, of course. His discussion on the ironies of prayer on the trouble with Pascal's Gambit were worth the price of the book for any believer interested in the mind of the honest atheist, for example.

I also appreciated the amusing and heartbreaking anectdotes that gave me some insight into his last months. His brief and witty remarks on writing in one's own voice also helped explain why so many readers felt as if he were writing personally to them.

(I've written about Hitch a number of times, once even comparing him to Flannery O'Connor's Hazel Motes, the hero of her Wise Blood.)
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