The Violet Hour

This is a look at, a meditation on, the last days of six famous writers/artists/thinkers.

Susan Sontag seemed to believe she could always beat any illness and subjected her body to truly punishing treatment. Sigmund Freud refused all painkillers but aspirin because he wanted to remain alert, to be able to analyze what was happening to him. Dylan Thomas drank, John Updike wrote, Maurice Sendak accepted. In an interview with the writer shortly before his own death, 89-year-old James Salter considered the subject.

I really don’t know how to write about this book. If the subject interests you, you’ll probably like it. If the subject’s too painful, you probably won’t. So all I’ll say is that it’s beautifully written and very easy to read. I found it fascinating.

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