Much shorter than I would have liked, but in the two hours of audio, Hitchens brings to life the struggle of a man in the throws of a losing battle with stage 4 Esophogeal Cancer. This is a particularly nasty cancer that leaves little doubt as to outcome, just a question of how long. Hitchens brings his brand of insight and eloquence to a situation that is in some sense hopeless.
In the course of doing so we will all be able to better understand what thoughts, what emotions have gone through the minds of all those whom we love but have struggled with some form of a serious hopital stay. I don't know, but perhaps this would have shifted the tone and topics of conversation I had with loved ones who didn't make it through. It is incredibly difficult to put yourself in their shoes unless you've been there. Having been there recently and having read this viciously short, eloquent and insightful bit from Hitchens, I don't think I'll approach sickness and hospitals in the same way.
I do wish that there had been some more of self-indulgence and/or self-pity, but he didn't want to revel in those feelings, yet clearly it is something with which all in such situations suffer. A man with such eloquence and insight would have certainly shed new light on this aspect of serious / terminal disease.
Much has been made about the "fact" that Hitchens didn't change his world view when confronted with the end of his life. Unfortunately the brevity and scope of the book I don't believe would have allowed any of these issues to be addressed. There was talk at the end of the larger book he had still hoped to write. He at some point rails against the Randy Pausch approach to passing, but at the end perhaps the book I had hoped to read would have been Hitchens' version of that approach. I didn't want to hear more argument about or criticism of religion and how others choose to live, but I wanted to hear about the beauty and virtue of Hitchens' secular humanism.
Nonetheless, this book will touch you and change the way you empathize with terminal disease / serious hospital stay patients and for that reason alone it is highly recommended.
I found Christopher Hitchens. I am searching for more of his works. He has an irreverence that I find fascinating. I would not have liked this material at any other point in my life, but today it was inspirational.
Hitchens ongoing humor in the face of a painful death is awe inspiring.
I did listen in one sitting it wasn't very long, but neither was Hitchen's life.
It was eye opening. I hope to find many other of Hitchens insights and outlooks.
I would recommend this audiobook to a friend but only if that friend was familiar with at least some of Hitchens's vast volume of work. It would be a disservice to said friend, and to the late Hitchens himself if his observations about the process of dying were taken without some understanding of the man behind them.
Christopher Hitchens takes the reader with him through all the physical, medical, social, and cultural indignities that those dying from terminal cancer experience. His commentary on what starts as hope, and ends as resignation is witty, wry, and incredibly sad. I am one of those who was unaware of Hitchens during his life, and only came to appreciate him after he was gone. He was a brave man - it can rightly be said that he lived the hell out of the life he had, and he kept going past the point where stronger people might rightly have quit.
The author and his battle against cancer were the characters of the book - I thought Simon Prebble did a great job, particularly at the end of the book, at which point the narrative ceases, and there are a number of notes Hitchens had left behind relating to the book. Prebble read them in a thoughtful, considered way, that breathed Hitchens into them. It could easily have come out sounding more like a To Do list.
My overwhelming reaction was sorrow that there was no more of Christopher Hitchens in this world to be had. Despite his talent and the huge body of work, both in letters and in speeches and debates that can be found in any number of places on the Internet, there's no more of that cutting intellect and brilliant reasoning that was the essence of Hitchens. He was a finite resource, and Mortality at least gave me some room to mourn what I'd discovered and lost, all within a short period of time.
It's not a happy book. There is no happy ending. If you've found Hitchens already, then you're probably aware of Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris, just to name two of his peers who have some very interesting views in common. If you haven't read them, you should. They, too, are entirely logical, unrepentant atheists, and represent angles of atheism that Hitchens sometimes touched on, and often discussed with both of these gentlemen. Look them up on YouTube when you get a chance.
Thank God for a mother that read to all the time. Now I can not go anywhere without iPod and headphones. Books allow me to be an armchair traveler, student and audience.
Even though this book is not read by Hitch you can still here his voice in every word. His stories are/were always entertaining, very funny, educational and filled with his amazement of his life. As he said in his interview with Charlie Rose "I am leaving the party earlier than I though I would, much earlier. I also highly recommend Hitch 22. It is read by Hitch and you will listen over and over.
god no! The narrator is painful to hear. He has a British accent, but that is where the similarities between Hitch and Prebble end. I assume that the narrator is familiar with Hitch's awesome spoken eloquence; I certainly am. It is because of my familiarity with Christopher's cadence and feeling. That feeling is present in the text, and in my head when I read his text to myself, I had fully expected this narrator to make an attempt towards recreating it. Sadly, he did not. The narrator raced through the text until the text eventually lost all meaning and feeling. Rarely has there been such a poignant written work been so egregiously reduced by the act of being read out load.
When Prebble stopped speaking.
He robbed the work of its emotion and eloquence by reading so quickly that the word ran ceaselessly in one ear and out the other.
Yes. It made me sad that this work was so badly performed. I Wish I had just read the hard copy version of the book.
Just a small town boy, trying to make it in the big city.
No, this is my first.
:-))) Don't think that applies to this one.
Good, not great.
I love anything that Christopher Hitchens writes so this was a special book for me because I knew that it was his last. And in true Hitch fashion he was honest and candid right to the end.
I love when he talks about how there needs to be a cancer school to teach people what to say to those that have cancer... And I loved what his wife Carol Blue had to say at the end of the book about him.
I can't say that he brings anything one way or another... nothing against him but when you are used to hearing/listening to Christopher for so many years you just expect to hear his voice.
Yes, on one hand I didn't want to put it down and on the other I didn't want it to end because I knew it was the last he would write.
If you are a Christopher Hitchens fan then you will appreciate this book. It shows a side of him that most of us never got to see. RIP Christopher... You are missed.
Say something about yourself!
Apparently with great equanimity and ironic humor... and eloquence. I found this calming and refreshing and way more intelligent than the religious alternative.
If you've enjoyed anything written by Christopher Hitchens, you must listen to this last hurrah. He faces death with reality, and anger, and fights to the end, but and leaves the reader with a sense of loss. This is as it should be. Hitch was a great contributor to our society, and we should have a sense of loss at the end.
This collections of essays is a must for anyone interested in Hitchens. His humanity is on full display as he shares his thoughts, wishes, and fears during his last days.