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From the incomparable David Rakoff, a poignant, beautiful, witty and wise novel in verse whose scope spans the 20th Century.
David Rakoff, who died in 2012 at the age of 47, built a deserved reputation as one of the finest and funniest essayists of our time. This intricately woven novel, written with humour, sympathy and tenderness, proves him the master of an altogether different art form.
Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish leaps cities and decades as Rakoff, a Canadian who became an American citizen, sings the song of his adoptive homeland--a country whose freedoms can be intoxicating, or brutal. Here the characters' lives are linked to each other by acts of generosity or cruelty. A critic once called Rakoff "magnificent," a word which perfectly describes this wonderful novel in verse.
115 pages, Hardcover
First published July 16, 2013
Anapestic tetrameter is a much cheerier form of verse than its name suggests. Yes, each line has four feet, and each foot has three syllables, two unstressed and the third delivered with a beat. It is less solemnly known as the singsong meter from “ ’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house” and Dr. Seuss’s “Yertle the Turtle,” and it is playful almost by definition. This is a way of saying that David Rakoff’s first novel, completed only weeks before he died last year at 47, is much sunnier and more heartening than it has any right to be.
The meter is so tricky and incongruous that it becomes this sly, bravura book’s main witticism. In this 113-page, book-length narrative poem, a marvel of gamesmanship, Mr. Rakoff describes hardship, illness, death and depravity, knowing how ingeniously his book’s style and substance would fight each other.
The facts were now harder, reality colder
His parasol no match for that falling boulder.
And so the concern with the trivial issues:
Slippers nearby and the proximate tissues
He thought of those two things in life that don't vary
(Well, thought only glancingly; more was too scary)
Inevitable, why even bother to test it,
He'd paid all his taxes, so that left ...you guessed it.