Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish Summary and Reviews

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish

A Novel

by David Rakoff

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff X
Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff
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  • Published Jul 2013
    128 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

From the incomparable David Rakoff, a poignant, beautiful, witty, and wise novel in verse whose scope spans the twentieth century

Through his books and his radio essays for NPR's This American Life, David Rakoff has built a deserved reputation as one of the finest and funniest essayists of our time. Written with humor, sympathy, and tenderness, this intricately woven novel proves him to be the master of an altogether different art form.

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish leaps cities and decades as Rakoff sings the song of an America whose freedoms can be intoxicating, or brutal. 

The characters' lives are linked to each other by acts of generosity or cruelty. A daughter of Irish slaughterhouse workers in early-twentieth-century Chicago faces a desperate choice; a hobo offers an unexpected refuge on the rails during the Great Depression; a vivacious aunt provides her clever nephew a path out of the crushed dream of postwar Southern California; an office girl endures the casually vicious sexism of 1950s Manhattan; the young man from Southern California revels in the electrifying sexual and artistic openness of 1960s San Francisco, then later tends to dying friends and lovers as the AIDS pandemic devastates the community he cherishes; a love triangle reveals the empty materialism of the Reagan years; a marriage crumbles under the distinction between self-actualization and humanity; as the new century opens, a man who has lost his way finds a measure of peace in a photograph he discovers in an old box - an image of pure and simple joy that unites the themes of this brilliantly conceived work.

Rakoff's insistence on beauty and the necessity of kindness in a selfish world raises the novel far above mere satire.  A critic once called Rakoff "magnificent," a word that perfectly describes this wonderful novel in verse.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Mesmerizing...Combines his wit and his gravity...Astounding too is how effectively an entire century is captured in these slices of daily life." - Publishers Weekly

"Strong work. It deepens the impact that this was the last book completed by the author." - Kirkus

"Verse seems the perfect style for the trifecta of Rakoff's humor, intelligence, and humanity. Readers who prefer their prose without stanzas may want to experiment by starting here." - Library Journal

"A novel in rhyming couplets narrated in iambic tetrameter? Why not?... Along the way, you can have a lot of fun, no matter how serious the subject - family, sometimes alienating, sometimes consoling - because of the rhymes. Rakoff makes such pairings as virago and Chicago, ceases and paresis, skittish and Yiddish, antelope and envelope, horas and Torahs, Alzheimer's and climbers, for 100 cleverly rendered and entertaining pages." - Alan Cheuse, NPR.org

"[A] marvelously barbed novel in verse." - Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair's "Hot Type"

This information about Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

David Rakoff

David Rakoff was the New York Times bestselling author of the books Fraud, Don't Get Too Comfortable, and Half Empty. A two-time recipient of the Lambda Literary Award and winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, he was a regular contributor to This American Life. He died in August 2012 at the age of forty-seven, shortly after finishing this book.

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