I’m in the middle of reviewing Mary Caponegro’s new collection All Fall Down. I highly recommend this book, any of her books, for that matter. Anyway, in one story, “Ashes Ashes We All Fall Down,” Carter, a man driven to momentary madness because of the pressure of taking care of both his terminally-ill mother and his almost full-term pregnant wife , asks:
And at what point does death yield grief? When, exactly when, does grief commence in earnest? And what is its configuration: mountain, ocean, column, vector, black hole? A revolutionary universe with its own laws, its own specific gravity? A world without end, Amen?
Death is something we rarely talk about in “polite” conversation. So today, after encountering this passage again (and also, I suspect, because Claude Lévi Strauss’s death is on my mind), I thought I’d open up a dialogue about death and dying. What, to use a word from Caponegro, is death’s “configuration” for you?
3 thoughts on “What is Death’s Configuration?”
Wow. The excerpt above sold me on this book all on its own. Great stuff.
It’s a great book. From the opening story about a couple whose marriage is falling apart to the last where you get to peep into the dusty mind of a scholar, Caponegro’s lyricism delights and pleasurably overwhelms.
a room full of starving children wielding steak knives.