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How Shall I Tell the Dog?: And Other Final Musings [Hardcover]

Miles Kington
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Written as a series of fictional letters to his agent and friend, Gill, proposing the book he has more or less written, late British humorist Kington (1941-2008) offers a witty, bittersweet slice of meta-nonfiction about his struggle with pancreatic cancer-or, more precisely, his struggle to write a book about it: "phrases like 'cashing in on cancer' give quite the wrong impression. What I mean is, 'making cancer work for its living.'" One letter is devoted to a list of cancer IFAQs, or Infrequently Asked Questions-what you wouldn't know to ask and wouldn't like the answers to besides-in which Kington gets wrapped up in ideas of denial (more like "cold-shouldering?") and astrology. Another responds to bestseller 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, which he calls "grimly prescient" and "nasty"; he proposes a more practical volume like A Hundred Things to Do Before You Die, with simpler goals like whistling loudly. And, inevitably, he considers the question of his healthy 10-year-old springer spaniel, who has at least five years on Kington. Throughout the goofy proceedings, Kington remains tuned to his condition but focuses on his relationships and life story, sparing much of the harsh physical reality; perhaps more stirring in omission, Kington writes around the pain to produce a touching, funny and life-affirming look at death.

Review

"Laughter was [Kington's] lifeblood. With unflinching courage and undiminished inventiveness, this unique, quirky wordsmith coped with his dying in the only way he could, by escaping into his surreal imagination and taking a squint at death's funny side." -Daily Mail (London) --Daily Mail (London)

"If I were still editor of The Times of London, I'd probably skip going to the office every day because I'd no longer find, in those pre-digital days, the sizzingly funny folios of copy from Miles Kington. They cheered us up to no end. He's done it again with this original memoir. How could he, for heaven's sake, when he's writing about his cancer? Don't flinch. Read it. You owe it to yourself." --Harold Evans, author of They Made America and The American Century --Harold Evans, author of They Made America and The American Century

Review

"What a wonderful legacy this is. A book to make the Grim Reaper laugh." -Michael Palin

"One of the most brilliantly written books I've ever read--hilarious, sad, touching, profound. A true tour de force." --Edward Klein, author of Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died

Review

"Late British humorist Miles Kington offers a witty, bittersweet slice of meta-nonfiction about his struggle with pancreatic cancer--or, more precisely, his struggle to write a book about it. Throughout the goofy proceedings, Kington remains tuned to his condition but focuses on his relationships and life story, sparing much of the harsh physical reality; perhaps more stirring in omission, Kington writes around the pain to produce a touching, funny and life-affirming look at death." --Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

About the Author

Miles Kington was literary editor of Punch and a writer for the London Times. He also wrote a regular column for The Independent, from its earliest days until the week he died. The author of several bestsellers in the UK, he died of cancer in January 2008.

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