The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death

Paperback | February 22, 2011

byDavid Shields, Bradford Morrow

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Birth is not inevitable. Life certainly isn't. The sole inevitability of existence, the only sure consequence of being alive, is death. In these eloquent and surprising essays, twenty writers face this fact, among them Geoff Dyer, who describes the ghost bikes memorializing those who die in biking accidents; Jonathan Safran Foer, proposing a new way of punctuating dialogue in the face of a family history of heart attacks and decimation by the Holocaust; Mark Doty, whose reflections on the art-porn movie Bijou lead to a meditation on the intersection of sex and death epitomized by the AIDS epidemic; and Joyce Carol Oates, who writes about the loss of her husband and faces her own mortality. Other contributors include Annie Dillard, Diane Ackerman, Peter Straub, and Brenda Hillman.

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Birth is not inevitable. Life certainly isn't. The sole inevitability of existence, the only sure consequence of being alive, is death. In these eloquent and surprising essays, twenty writers face this fact, among them Geoff Dyer, who describes the ghost bikes memorializing those who die in biking accidents; Jonathan Safran Foer, propo...

David Shields, the author of Reality Hunger, is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.9 inPublished:February 22, 2011Publisher:WW NortonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:039333936X

ISBN - 13:9780393339369

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“Starred Review. A wonderfully speculative patchwork quilt on the meaning of life and death.” — Kirkus Reviews“[A] diversity of views, yet a consistently high level of thought. Their eloquent introduction sets up these pieces, several of them previously published. Suffusing the collection as a whole is the humility expressed by Lynne Tillman at the end of her essay: "Of death, mortals are absolutely ignorant. The dead, fortunately, are beyond caring." Ultimately, these readings may bring the reader some comfort to realize, perhaps again, that we are all in this together.” — Alan Moores (Seattle Times)