cover image Love and Other Ways of Dying

Love and Other Ways of Dying

Michael Paterniti. Dial, $28 (464p) ISBN 978-0-385-33702-1

Readers familiar with Paterniti’s Driving Mr. Albert and The Telling Room know just how quirky his storytelling can be. Fans of solid narrative nonfiction will appreciate the breadth of subject matter and depth of reporting evident in his latest collection, which pulls together 17 pieces previously published in such venues as the New York Times Magazine and National Geographic. Throughout, he manages to inject his own personality without straying too far from the topic at hand. “The Accident,” for example, recalls a decades-ago car crash in his hometown that killed a childhood friend. Paterniti recognizes the perspective that distance, both physical and metaphorical, can afford: “We were teenagers then. We knew everything—and nothing. What we lacked was context, wisdom, time on earth... some of which we have now.” “The House that Thurman Munson Built” celebrates an early hero of his, a catcher for the New York Yankees in the 1970s. Other selections visit China (“The Suicide Catcher”) and Cambodia (“Never Forget”). Still others deal with the fundamentals of eating. “He Might Just Be a Prophet” and “The Last Meal” focus on Ferran Adria’s El Bulli restaurant and cancer-stricken former French president Francois Mitterrand’s final repast, respectively. Whether writing about tragedy, sports, politics, or food, Paterniti effectively creates vivid worlds. He transports his audience, managing to simultaneously entertain and enlighten. [em](Mar.) [/em]