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Friday, 16 December 2011

An Otherwise Dreary Day Punctuated by the Surreal

I have just finished Murakami's 1Q84, where the themes of death and rebirth (among many, many others) are explored in the haze of a dreamlike work only Murakami could create. So these topics are at the forefront of my mind whether I like it or not. So after finishing 1Q84, what do I choose for my next book? Hitch 22, a memoir of the British essayist, atheist, journalist, and wit Christopher Hitchens. I started it last night, December 15th. In the first chapter, Hitchens describes what it is like to read your own obituary, since he himself has experienced this. I'll explain: one day in 2008 he was featured in a photograph in an article for the New Statesman, and the caption referred to him as the late Christopher Hitchens. It turned out to be an error, of course, but seeing himself so matter-of-factly announced as having shuffled off this mortal coil rattled him. 

So what do I read the very next morning, December 16th? That Christopher Hitchens has indeed passed away and his obituary has been published, rightfully so this time around. This is a very sad day, for Hitchens is a dying breed among, well, that's hard to say. Among journalists. Among authors. Among outspoken critics and people with bon mots for pretty much any occasion. So raise a glass (or two, or three) of the finest brandy and light a Cuban cigar in honour of Christopher Hitchens. 

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