Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Those We Lost in 2008

For many in the community of letters, the loss of David Foster Wallace on September 12th was the hardest blow. Something about a candle that burns too brightly, I think. More personal: something about the books we’ll never get the chance to read.

January Magazine didn’t comment on Foster Wallace’s death at the time. January’s contributors at that moment spread to the four winds. I myself was at the foot of a glacier, contemplating immortality of a very different sort. And, still, something pierced me when I heard the news.

January did, however, comment on the loss of several writers in the 12 months just passed. Too many, really. Though I don’t imagine there’s ever a year that holds the correct amount.

In January we lost “Flashman” creator George MacDonald Fraser; mystery writer Ed Hoch; as well as novelist and socialite Theodora Roosevelt Rauchfuss Keogh.

February brought the death of 104-year-old “Queen of the American Gothics” Phyllis Ayame Whitney and famed thinker and conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr.

In March, we brought the news of the death of Arthur C. Clarke (who we thought would never die!) and Anthony Minghella (who died much, much too young).

Later in the year, we shared the passing of MAD artist Willie Elder, comedian and author George Carlin, science fiction authors Thomas M. Disch and Algis Budrys; mystery author James Crumley, actor and author Paul Newman; jazz music expert and author Peter J. Levinson; author Tony Hillerman; Pulitzer Prize-winning author, activist and radio host Louis “Studs” Terkel; thriller author Michael Crichton and, finally, Nobel laureate British playwright Harold Pinter, who died just a few days ago.

All of our tributes are labeled as Passages and collected here.



Post a Comment

<< Home