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

Sicilian Catholic diocese bans godparents
Baptism at Vatican
'It's an experiment'

Sicilian Catholic diocese bans godparents

British lawmakers gather to mourn slain MP David Amess
Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson
Democracy in a world of violence

British lawmakers gather to mourn slain MP David Amess

British officials mourn death of MP David Amess
David Amess.
rest in peace

British officials mourn death of MP David Amess

Downfall of the anti-populists?
Blocs.
Picture of Damon LinkerDamon Linker

Downfall of the anti-populists?

Most Popular

The American 'Great Resignation' by the numbers
Help wanted sign
Help Wanted

The American 'Great Resignation' by the numbers

Madonna makes Jimmy Fallon sweat, remove coat in 'disturbed' interview
Jimmy Fallon and Madonna
'Life is not just about interviewing kitties'

Madonna makes Jimmy Fallon sweat, remove coat in 'disturbed' interview

Queen expresses irritation with world leaders talk but 'don't do' on climate change
Queen Elizabeth II
God Save the Green

Queen expresses irritation with world leaders talk but 'don't do' on climate change