In late 2017, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni suffered a rare stroke, rendering him functionally blind in one eye. Here Bruni recounts his adjustment to this daunting new reality, a medical and spiritual odyssey that involved not only reappraising his own priorities but also reaching out to, and gathering wisdom from, longtime friends and new acquaintances who had navigated their own traumas and afflictions.
What makes The Beauty of Dusk far more remarkable than one man’s triumph over life’s cruelties is how Bruni persevered through the difficulties: by seeking the counsel of others who had suffered physical losses. This isn’t the sad story of a man who lost his sight; it is the generous narrative of a student who sought wisdom when trials appeared in his life ... The volume curates an extraordinary collection of miniature profiles in courage and perseverance ... Bruni is indefatigable in his search for greater knowledge and acceptance of the random insults to his body. He refuses to back down from life’s demands and joys ... He relies on his writing weapons: He names the issues, asks the knotty questions, then writes toward the truths that the reader may need ... Bruni does not judge anyone’s decisions; rather, he grieves the losses and appreciates the grace.
Bruni helps us see how hardship might allow for a deeper understanding than a life 'untouched by significant turmoil' ... My favorite chapter in this book is the one about Bruni’s dog ... If I had one quibble with this moving and inspiring book, it’s that not everyone has the resources or the fortitude to confront a serious illness the way Bruni has. Still, I hope that his readers can discover through this memoir the inner strength to face their inevitable challenges, a renewed understanding of what others would say on their invisible sandwich boards, and a deeper well of compassion and kindness.
Bruni...includes graphic descriptions of the treatment...and philosophical discourses on what it means truly to see ... Some of Bruni's epiphanies are obvious: that the ambitious should occasionally interrupt their pursuit of power to appreciate the splendors all around is not an original insight. But this book is a welcome reminder, despite the inevitability of dusk in each person's life, of how 'enriching and beautiful that dusk can be' when one examines it closely.