Book review: Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor

This slim volume is a writer’s last will and testament. In it, awardwinning Australian novelist Cory Taylor (Me And Mr Booker), who died on July 5, takes stock of her life and states her final wishes.

At the time of writing, Taylor, 61, knew she was dying of an untreatable brain cancer, and weighed less than her neighbour’s retriever. This is ‘my final book: I am making a shape for my death, so that I, and others, can see it clearly’, she writes. ‘And I am making dying bearable for myself.’

In lucid, precise, unsentimental prose, she makes a powerful case for assisted dying, answers a series of questions that people always want to ask the dying, and reflects on the life she has lived and the imminent extinction that now awaits her.

Taylor wrote the book in a creative burst over a few brief weeks, and died soon after. One hopes that the composition of this clear-sighted essay helped to sustain her during the final phase of her life, just as its compassion might have something to teach any mortal.

Dying: A Memoir

Cory Taylor

Book review: Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor

Canongate, €15.45; ebook, €7.35


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