As a pleasant distraction from a busy work schedule, I’ve been reading a recent collection of twenty essays (or are they short stories?) about death. Edited by David Shields and Bradford Murrow,
The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death approaches that tall, dark stranger
from a variety of perspectives. David Gates opens the series with a rumination on illness and deterioration. Jonathan Safran Foer’s contribution adopts what he calls ‘the silence mark’, an empty
square figuration in the text that ‘signifies an absence of language’, an absence, Foer reveals, that punctuates ‘every page of the story of my family life’. And Joyce Carol Oates revisits the
territory of A Widow’s Story, the grief that follows the loss of a husband, and the way those who are gone continue to haunt our day-to-day lives. It’s an interesting, entertaining and at times
quite moving book.
Rhys Tranter blogs at A Piece of Monolgue, a website devoted to literature, philosophy and criticism.