Early this week, I heard of the passing of British novelist P.D. James.
Here are my thoughts from reading Death in Holy Orders in 2009.
Here is Mark Steyn reflecting on her dystopian masterpiece The Children of Men.
I’m currently reading The Murder Room, and you should, too.
Just a day later, I heard of the death of Kent Haruf.
This is what I wrote nearly two years ago, when his book Benediction was about to come out.
Now I’m re-reading Plainsong, his magnum opus. You really should read it, also. I even liked the Hallmark movie version.
The other great writer who died in the past week is the poet Mark Strand, but I actually didn’t like his work very much–I found it too narrow and self-consciously obscure for my taste. Still, a great talent who made a major contribution to letters.
No, the third writer who I loved and who we recently lost is the critic D.G. Myers, who died in September. I found his work A Commonplace Blog years ago, and long treasured his thoughts about writers, especially his fellow Jewish writers–I learned a lot about Saul Bellow and I.S. Singer from him.
Peruse his final months of posts–those from 2014–and you’ll be treated to two posts about his battle with cancer, posts about the best debut novels and the bets novels of the 1940s, and two posts about the degradation of the humanities in the American university. A 21st century Allan Bloom, he was. Though his link sat in my sidebar for as long as this blog has existed, I never mentioned him here explicitly, and for that I am sorry.
Here are some thoughts about him from some other prominent thinkers and writers.
The work of all three of these writers were essentially conservative. James was celebrated in some circles; Haruf and Myers were under-appreciated. All three are worthy of your time.