Margin Notes: A surprise hit

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish


From the incomparable David Rakoff, a poignant, beautiful, witty and wise novel in verse whose scope spans the 20th Century.

David Rakoff, who died in 2012 at the age of 47,  built a deserved reputation as one of the finest and funniest essayists of our time.  This intricately woven novel, written with humour, sympathy and tenderness, proves him the master of an altogether different art form.

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish leaps cities and decades as Rakoff, a Canadian who became an American citizen, sings the song of his adoptive homeland--a country whose freedoms can be intoxicating, or brutal. Here the characters' lives are linked to each other by acts of generosity or cruelty. A critic once called Rakoff "magnificent," a word which perfectly describes this wonderful novel in verse.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I tore through this book. It's absolutely beautiful. It seemed like it could have been gimmicky--a novel told in iambic pentameter? A novel that switches between character' stories telling the story of how they love, dishonor, marry, die, cherish, or perish. Instead, the beautifully written story bends genres in the way only a talented author can, without the reader taking note. The characters were so poignant, the plot twists lovely, the pain and joy of being human so apparent. I wish this book was longer, but I'm so happy it was published at all. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Also, David Rakoff was just an amazing person. As a frequent guest on NPR, his voice is familiar and his name even more so. What a loss to the human community with his death. Here's an inspiring video--one of his last public performances.


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