HITCHENS’ death in 2011 robbed the world of one of its foremost critics of cant, tyranny and puritanism.
The essays, articles and reviews here are previously uncollected (though not ‘unpublished’ as the jacket claims — an omission a living Hitchens would surely not have countenanced), perhaps because, alas, they’re not always among his best work.
A piece on GK Chesterton seems too fixated on Chesterton’s ideological sins to sufficiently admit his skills as a writer; an aside elsewhere on the phrase ‘more heat than light’, whether disingenuous or genuinely missing the point, seems uncharacteristically wrong-headed. Still, elsewhere the penetrating eye, powerful mind and excoriating wit are on typically fine form.
Nobody agrees with everything Hitchens wrote, not even Hitchens (one of the anti-Christmas essays here is admitted in its successor to be “straining for effect”), but even off-par, he reminds us how diminished our cultural sphere is by his passing.
And Yet... Essays
by Christopher Hitchens
Atlantic Books, £20; ebook, £11.29
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved