Christopher #Hitchens: An Impossible Act to Follow
Christopher Hitchens: an impossible act to follow
Christopher Hitchens, the influential writer who died last year, approached the end with his customary wit and charisma intact – and his wife always by his side. Carol Blue recalls their final months together.
By Carol Blue
Onstage, my husband was an impossible act to follow.
If you ever saw him at the podium, you may not share Richard Dawkins’s assessment that ‘he was the greatest orator of our time’, but you will know what I mean – or at least you won’t think, ‘She would say that, she’s his wife.’
Carol Blue and Christopher Hitchens
Offstage, my husband was an impossible act to follow.
At home at one of the raucous, joyous, impromptu eight-hour dinners we often found ourselves hosting, where the table was so crammed with ambassadors, hacks, political dissidents, college students and children that elbows were colliding and it was hard to find the space to put down a glass of wine, my husband would rise to give a toast that could go on for a stirring, spellbinding, hysterically funny 20 minutes of poetry and limerick reciting, a call to arms for a cause, and jokes. ‘How good it is to be us,’ he would say in his perfect voice.
My husband is an impossible act to follow.
And yet, now I must follow him. I have been forced to have the last word.
It was the sort of early summer evening in New York when all you can think of is living. It was June 8 2010, to be exact, the first day of his American book tour. I ran as fast as I could down East 93rd Street, suffused with joy and excitement at the sight of him in his white suit. He was dazzling. He was also dying, though we didn’t know it yet. And we wouldn’t know it for certain until the day of his death.
* Edited afterword by Carol Blue in Mortality, by Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011).