Until Further Notice, I Am Alive | Granta

  • Published: 04/09/2014
  • ISBN: 9781783781461
  • 130x20mm
  • 160 pages

Until Further Notice, I Am Alive

Tom Lubbock

In 2008, Tom Lubbock was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and told he had only one or two years to live. In this remarkable record of those years, lived out in three-month intervals between scans, he examines the question of how to live with death in sight.

As the tumour progressed, Tom engaged intensely and imaginatively with work, art, friends, and his wife and their young son, while trying to remain focused on the fact of his impending death. His tumour was located in the area of the brain associated with language, and he describes losing control over the spoken and written word and the resources he drew on to keep communicating; a struggle which brought him ever closer to the mysteries of the origin of speech. As the Independent’s chief art critic, he was renowned for the clarity and unconventionality of his writing, and the same fierce intelligence permeates this extraordinary memoir. This is a book written by a man wholly engaged with life even as it ends.

Philosophy's big riddles get dramatised here in rich detail. Lubbock does not dwell on physical pain but he tries to track, with awesome stubbornness and lucidity, the gradual disintegration of his own speech patterns ... What gradually came on me as I read his notes and meditations was a sense that behind the witty and complicated man I very slightly knew, there stood a kind of hero of contemplation

Julian Bell, Guardian

I hope that if I am ever diagnosed with a terminal illness I will remember to reread Until Further Notice, I Am Alive. It is, in its tough-minded way, truly joyous

Lynn Barber, Sunday Times

Until Further Notice, I Am Alive is an account of what William Empson called 'the human practice of dying'. And nothing in Lubbock's writing indicates that he did it with any less of the humour and intellectual curiosity that he lived by ... The details are beautifully observed; the big picture is illuminated; the title is well chosen

Alexander Linklater, Observer

The Author

Tom Lubbock (1958-2011) was the chief art critic of the Independent, an illustrator and a writer. He studied philosophy at Cambridge University, before moving to London where he worked for the BBC, the Observer, and the Independent. In 2008 he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and told he had only two years to live. Until Further Notice, I am Alive is his memoir chronicling the years that followed. Tom Lubbock died in 2011.

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