Death Be Not a Stranger

One of the liveliest topics of the moment seems, improbably, to be death, even as life expectancies increase. While many of the world's thinkers are worried about the proliferation of births, it is the knelling sound of death that keeps us awake at night. The best-seller lists are crowded, in fact, with titles such as How We Die and The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Perhaps it is because aids and cancer have implicated us all in the abruptness of extinction, or merely that publishers see a killing in the most universal experience of them all. But that, in either...

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