Katie Roiphe's extraordinary book is filled with intimate and surprising revelations. Susan Sontag, consummate public intellectual, finds her rational thinking tested during her third bout with cancer. Seventy-six year old John Updike's response to a fatal diagnosis is to begin a poem. Dylan Thomas's fatal collapse on the floor of a Greenwich Village tavern is preceded by a fortnight of almost suicidal excess. Sigmund Freud understands his hastening decline. Maurice Sendak shows his lifelong obsession with death in his beloved books.
The Violet Hour - urgent and unsentimental - helps us to be less afraid in the face of death.