cover image Passing: A Memoir of Love and Death

Passing: A Memoir of Love and Death

Michael Korda. Liveright, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-63149-464-2

Novelist and former Simon & Schuster editor-in-chief Korda (Clouds of Glory) delivers a heartfelt look at his wife, Margaret, who was diagnosed with brain cancer a year before she died at age 79. This intimate memoir is both a tribute to their 45-year marriage—during which they had been “each other’s lover, companion, and best friend”—and an account of how looking “after someone who is dying gradually fills one’s life to the exclusion of everything else” with “no manual that tells you what to do, what to expect, what to tell the person who’s dying.” Korda’s account of Margaret’s medical treatments—surgery, radiation, and rehabilitation—is made all the more striking as he details her lifetime of physical fitness, including riding horses competitively (and winning five national championships). He sensitively describes how Margaret’s “present was becoming unbearable at a quickening rate” though he concludes that in the end her eyes showed not resignation but “perhaps even gratitude” that “the struggle was coming to an end.” Lovingly told, Korda’s memoir movingly captures the complexities of dealing with the death of a loved one. (Oct.)