THE ART OF DEATH

Writing The Final Story

Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat’s The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story is at once a personal account of her mother dying from cancer and a deeply considered reckoning with the ways that other writers have approached death in their own work. “Writing has been the primary way I have tried to make sense of my losses,” Danticat notes in her introduction. “I have been writing about death for as long as I have been writing.” The book moves outward from the shock of her mother’s diagnosis and sifts through Danticat’s writing life and personal history, all the while shifting fluidly from examples that range from Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude to Toni Morrison’s Sula. 

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Edwidge Danticat’s The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story is at once a personal account of her mother dying from cancer and a deeply considered reckoning with the ways that other writers have approached death in their own work. “Writing has been the primary way I have tried to make sense of my losses,” Danticat notes in her introduction. “I have been writing about death for as long as I have been writing.” The book moves outward from the shock of her mother’s diagnosis and sifts through Danticat’s writing life and personal history, all the while shifting fluidly from examples that range from Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude to Toni Morrison’s Sula. The narrative, which continually circles the many incarnations of death from individual to large-scale catastrophes, culminates in a beautiful, heartrending prayer in the voice of Danticat’s mother. A moving tribute and work of astute criticism, The Art of Death is a book that will profoundly alter all who encounter it.

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  • Graywolf Press
  • Paperback
  • July 2017
  • 200 Pages
  • 9781555977771

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About Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat is the acclaimed and best-selling author of several books, including the novels Breath, Eyes, Memory and The Farming of Bones, and the memoir Brother, I’m Dying. She’s received many awards and honors, which include the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography, two National Book Award finalists, the American Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Award, the Story Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and others.

Author Website

Praise

“This book is a kind of prayer for her mother — an act of mourning and remembrance, a purposeful act of grieving. . . . Danticat writes beautifully about fellow writers, dissecting their magic and technique with a reader’s passion and a craftsman’s appraising eye. . . . As a grieving daughter, she wants to understand how others have grappled with this essential fact of human existence; and as a writer — a ‘sentence-maker,’ in the words of a DeLillo character — she wants to learn how to use language to try to express the inexpressible, to use her art to mourn.”The New York Times

“Danticat, in her slim, absorbing volume on this enormous subject, one in the ‘art of’ series published by Graywolf Press, takes a tour of the dark side, holding up for view the guises that death has assumed in works by Leo Tolstoy, Gabriel García Márquez, Albert Camus, Toni Morrison and others, and offering her own reflections.”TheNew York Times Book Review

“Danticat taps into such tough subject matter . . . with a trickless, spellbinding clarity. . . . This small book is a bracingly clear-eyed take on its subject.”The Boston Globe