What do these things have in common: a plane crash off the coast of Nova Scotia, a giant living in the Ukraine, a tsunami in Japan, Yankee’s great Thurman Munson, a man living in a Paris airport for 15 years, a dinner reenacting Francois Mitterrand’s last public meal, medical illustrators at the University of Vienna during the Nazi regime and Ferran Adria, considered by some to be the greatest living chef? Each is the subject of an essay in Michael Paterniti’s fabulous essay collection Love and Other Ways of Dying.
Not since reading David Grann’s The Devil and Sherlock Holmes; tales of murder, madness and obsession (to read more about Grann’s book read this blog entry) have I been so enthusiastic about and moved by a work of literary journalism. To say that Paterniti immediately captures the readers’ attention with each of his entries is an understatement. His words create a moving and ever changing reader experience in which he elicits unexpected and differing emotions with his essays. As you read these essays, don’t be surprised to find yourself filled with contempt, awe, empathy, sorrow, joy and happiness.
I came away from this book saddened that it had ended but filled with the certainty that Paterniti could write a book about a brown paper bag and I would look forward to reading it. Do yourself a favor and get acquainted with this talented writer’s newest offering.