Feature

Novel of the week: Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff

David Rakoff left us “a lovely parting gift.”

(Doubleday, $27)

David Rakoff left us “a lovely parting gift,” said Matthew Gilbert in The Boston Globe. The 47-year-old contributor to NPR’s This American Life wrote this novel-in-verse while battling the cancer that ended his life last year, and the book is shot through with “his mordant humor, his moral questioning, his sharp honesty.” Its loosely connected stories introduce a range of characters: an early-1900s Chicago rape victim, a 1950s secretary who has an affair with her boss, and a gay man in 1980s San Francisco. Gradually, a reader puts the puzzle’s 11 pieces together. The rhythms of Rakoff’s doggerel “sometimes trip and go splat,” said Craig Seligman in Bloomberg.com. But the impact of the author’s couplets “sneaks up on you.” An aging photograph that appears in all the stories gains symbolic power for readers even as the characters’ interest in it fades. Our lives may not be remembered after our deaths, the author seems to be saying. And yet—“maybe some of our art will.”

Recommended

Biden tells Zelensky there's a 'distinct possibility' Russia could invade Ukraine in February
Civilian volunteer troops practice in Ukraine.
all eyes on ukraine

Biden tells Zelensky there's a 'distinct possibility' Russia could invade Ukraine in February

U.S. sends Russia letter on security demands: 'The ball is in their court'
Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
diplomacy

U.S. sends Russia letter on security demands: 'The ball is in their court'

Germany is a major wild card in Ukraine-Russia imbroglio
Olaf Scholz
Western Wrangling

Germany is a major wild card in Ukraine-Russia imbroglio

Could the threat of Ukrainian resistance deter Russia?
Vladimir Putin.
Picture of Noah MillmanNoah Millman

Could the threat of Ukrainian resistance deter Russia?

Most Popular

Florida's DeSantis upset FDA canceled 2 antibody cocktails ineffective against Omicron
Regeneron infusion center in Florida
Monoclonal Fixation

Florida's DeSantis upset FDA canceled 2 antibody cocktails ineffective against Omicron

Could the threat of Ukrainian resistance deter Russia?
Vladimir Putin.
Opinion

Could the threat of Ukrainian resistance deter Russia?

Barry Bonds doesn't need the Hall of Fame
Barry Bonds.
Samuel Goldman

Barry Bonds doesn't need the Hall of Fame