Hitchens' vast consumption of alcohol and obsessive smoking were not signs of fatalism, Carol Blue says.
Mr. Hitchens lived a satisfying existence as a larger-than-life writer, public intellectual, orator, mischievous rogue and husband. His death, in December, at age 62 — and the grotesque and moving accounts of his journey toward it — now published in his posthumously released mini-memoir, Mortality.
Mr. Hitchens learned he had advanced esophageal cancer in 2010 in the midst of a tour touting his real memoir, Hitch-22. Because of high-profile cancellations of his appearances, his cancer was revealed publicly.
Courtesy of Carol Blue - Christopher Hitchens and his wife, Carol Blue.
Religion comes up in Mortality, with the issues of prayer and the reaction of religious people to his malady comprising some of its most amusing portions.
“What if I pulled through and the pious faction contentedly claimed that their prayers had been answered? That would somehow be irritating,” Mr. Hitchens wrote.
Mr. Hitchens had revelled in downing tumblers of Scotch and smoking unfiltered cigarettes; he was rarely photographed without a jaunty white protrusion or the haze of exhale, including on the cover of the original edition of Hitch-22, changed after his cancer diagnosis.
Although fewer than 100 pages, Mr. Hitchens’ account is gripping, darkly entertaining and enlightening.
He dissects the minutiae of cancer treatment and its effects; the reactions of others to his circumstance and the impact they had on him. He muses on the etiquette and language of malady.
The book ends with fragments of lines and thoughts he typed as he lay in hospital, are an odd ending and might form its saddest part:
mortality is forever.
Source: National Post
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