CRF Blog

Deadlines

by Bill Hayes

In Deadlines, an essay for the New York Times Book Review, Meghan O’Rourke looks at the new literature of the slow death.

Death may be unchanging, but the human experience of it isn’t. If every age has its style of dying, its moral-ethical and literary view of it, from the “tame death” to the “beautiful death,” ours is surely the age of the “protracted death” — a slow, medicalized end, portrayed in documentary detail. The author finds himself in the predicament of feeling vividly alive — perhaps more alive than ever — while facing imminent demise. It is a classically ironic state. Because today’s sophisticated medical diagnoses and treatments have led to slower deaths, writers have, as never before, the opportunity to leave behind a considered record of their final détente. [more]