This time, (Winik) tells the stories of 60-plus people (and one dog and one goldfish) she has for the most part loved, all of whom she has lost ... Spending time with dead people might make you wonder: Do I want to take this trip? You do, when Winik is telling the stories, two-page hits that read like flash nonfiction, highlight reels of what these people have meant to her, and sometimes to American culture, over the past 60 years.
Marion Winik is one of the most elegant, evocative and incisive writers I have encountered ... Her gift is using the fewest words to capture their spirits, and though as the title broadcasts, this is a book about the dead, it is a glorious account of living ... her tight characterizations pack such power they will hit all on a visceral level. She's written 11 other books, now on my to read list.
Winik follows her essay collection The Glen Rock Book of the Dead with this unconventional though captivating blend of memoir and biography. It’s a slim volume of remembrances of the author’s deceased friends and influences who, in one way or another, affected her ... Throughout these understated portraits, Winik writes with a delightfully light and nuanced hand.
Though Winik is most widely regarded as a humorist, through her columns and NPR commentary, death has been a focus of her book projects...As she observes in the introduction to her latest, 'death is the subtext of life, there is no way around it. It is the foundation of life’s meaning and value.' ... In writing about...dozens of deaths, the author is writing about life in general, how quickly it can change and how long a memory can persist, and her life in particular, 'how big ideas about art and revolution were so easily infected with the stupid romance of self-destruction.' ... Insightful pieces with a cumulative impact that wouldn’t work as well standing alone.