CodaGives an account of the year in which the author struggles to come to terms with terminal cancer. From heartbreaking reflections on his own mortality to characteristically outrageous asides, this book contains the author's self-proclaimed 'last written words on the subject of myself' that records his extraordinary emotional journey.
by Simon Gray
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It's coming up to 4 am on a Friday morning, and I've just promised myself, a self loaded with and lightened by a couple of sleeping pills, that I will go on with this tomorrow.So begins Simon Gray's powerful account of the year in which he struggles to come to terms with terminal cancer. From heartbreaking reflections on his own mortality to characteristically outrageous asides - 'everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who was given six months to live, and here they are, only just dead, eight years later or, in exceptional cases, here they still are, eating oysters and boring the shit out of people' - Gray's self-proclaimed 'last written words on the subject of myself' records his extraordinary emotional journey.Darkly comic depictions of the medical team - there's the Chipmunk of Doom, who spells out Gray's woeful prognosis uninvited; the charming, floppy-haired neurologist, aka 'Mummy's delight'; the 'mortifyingly pretty doctor' who arrives to fit his catheter; and the elegant nurse who breezily observes he smells of urine - are set against joyful accounts of sunlit days with this beloved wife, Victoria, in Crete and a beautiful early summer in Suffolk. Woven into the narrative are arguments with himself, 'Dialogue between a Thicko and a Sicko', a shameful childhood memory and a masterfully tense 'distraction', written in real time while waiting for his final prognosis - and smoking one last cigarette.Written with exceptional candour and a poignant reluctance to leave this world behind, Simon Gray's "Coda" is as life-affirming as it is heartrending.
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