Synopses & Reviews
Mesmerized–at times unnerved–by his ninety-seven-year-old father’s nearly superhuman vitality and optimism, David Shields undertakes an investigation of the human physical condition. The result is this exhilarating audiobook: both a personal meditation on mortality and an exploration of flesh-and-blood existence from crib to oblivion–an exploration that paradoxically prompts a renewed and profound appreciation of life.
Shields begins with the facts of birth and childhood, expertly weaving in anecdotal information about himself and his father. As the book proceeds through adolescence, middle age, old age, he juxtaposes biological details with bits of philosophical speculation, cultural history and criticism, and quotations from a wide range of writers and thinkers–from Lucretius to Woody Allen–yielding a magical whole: the universal story of our bodily being, a tender and often hilarious portrait of one family.
An audiobook of extraordinary depth and resonance, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead will move listeners to contemplate the brevity and radiance of their own sojourn on earth and challenge them to rearrange their thinking in unexpected and crucial ways.
About the Author
David Shields is the author of eight previous books of fiction and nonfiction, including Black Planet (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), Remote (winner of the PEN/Revson Award), and Dead Languages (winner of the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award). A senior editor at Conjunctions, Shields has published essays and stories in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s Magazine, The Yale Review, The Village Voice, Salon, Slate, McSweeney’s, and The Believer. He lives with his wife and daughter in Seattle, where he is a professor in the English department at the University of Washington.
Read exclusive essays by David Shields from 2010