Joan Didion – The Year of Magical Thinking

There are many facets to this diamond among memoirs. And there are many layers to Joan Didion’s grief and mourning recorded in the year following her husband’s death. He is magically all too present in these pages, even though John Gregory Dunne died on 30 December 2003. The magical thinking of the title is the belief that Joan can bring him back, that he is not dead. But it is also the belief that Joan could have done something that would have altered the outcome. And it is also the conceit we all share – at least at some level … Read more...

Kathryn Mannix – With The End In Mind

It has nothing new to observe that in western society death and old age have been cleaned out of everyday view. Palliative care consultant Kathryn Mannix has seen enough death and dying to know that this is not a subject to shy away from. We will all face it at some point. She is doing her bit to help us prepare for dying, since the old acquaintance with death has disappeared. She does this with a series of fictionalised encounters with individuals and carers (and clinicians) she has met during her career, from when she was a medical student, through … Read more...