Christopher Hitchens


"Mortality" was the final novel from Christopher Hitchens and was published after his death in 2012. This novel put together seven essays by Hitchens that first appeared in the Vanity Fair magazine. Each of the seven chapter in the novel, as well as the eighth chapter that contains a foreword, an afterword and other jottings by Hitchens, can also be found in "Mortality". Hitchens covered a wide range of topics having to do with his battle with esophageal cancer, including everything from the difficulties of chemotherapy to the meaning of life. One of the fears that he expounds upon within this novel is not the fear of dying itself, but a fear of losing his mind and who he is, possibly saying something religious towards the end that would simply embolden his critics and enemies. Critics praised the novel and spoke well of the writing within.

Christopher Buckley, a writer at the New York Times, had this to say about "Mortality": "It was sobering and grief-inducing to read this brave and harrowing account of his 'year of living dyingly' in the grip of the alien that succeeded where none of his debate opponents had in bringing him down." In the novel, Hitchens said about the possibility of converting that "If I convert, It's because it's better that a believer dies than that an atheist does." However, Hitchens talks about more than just his mortality within these 7 essays, he also talks about his life in general, going into detail about his love of great conversation, saying "A good conversation is the only human equivalent: the realizing that decent points are being made and understood, that irony is in play, and elaboration, and that a dull and obvious remark would be almost physically hurtful.