cover image Stardust to Stardust: Reflections on Living and Dying

Stardust to Stardust: Reflections on Living and Dying

Erik Olin Wright. Haymarket, $26.95 (260p) ISBN 978-1-64259-158-3

This intimate, informal posthumous memoir from sociologist Wright (Class, Crisis, and the State) brings together his end-of-life blog entries meant to keep friends updated during his cancer treatment. Throughout the course of a 10-month treatment for acute myeloid lymphoma, Wright displays a joyful spirit and exemplifies an “optimism of the intellect” and “sustain[ing] optimism of the will” that he credits to his care staff. He compares his treatment and isolation to a trip by an astronaut and, as the disease worsens, explores how he finds nothing incongruous in the experience of being both deeply happy and deathly ill. Wright expresses particular joy in his interactions with colleagues and in visits with his grandchildren. Though Wright occasionally pauses for quiet musings, there’s a lively busyness throughout as he works on writing projects, endures increasingly complex and discouraging medical appointments, and enjoys music. While the upfront knowledge of Wright’s fate creates a melancholic reading experience, the overall effect of his fortitude and humor is one of delight. These touching, wise remembrances demonstrate how joys can arise from even the darkest moments. (July)