From the incomparable David Rakoff, a poignant, beautiful, witty and wise novel in verse whose scope spans the 20th Century.
David Rakoff, who died in 2012 at the age of 47, built a deserved reputation as one of the finest and funniest essayists of our time. This intricately woven novel, written with humour, sympathy and tenderness, proves him the master of an altogether different art form.
Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish leaps cities and decades as Rakoff, a Canadian who became an American citizen, sings the song of his adoptive homeland--a country whose freedoms can be intoxicating, or brutal. Here the characters' lives are linked to each other by acts of generosity or cruelty. A critic once called Rakoff "magnificent," a word which perfectly describes this wonderful novel in verse.
Read an Excerpt
Helen harbors the hope that the passing five years
Have made folks forget both the vomit and tears
And throwing of glassware and drunken oration,
That half-hour tirade of recrimination
Where, feeling misused, she had got pretty plastered,
And named His name publicly, called him a bastard.
Praise for Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish
—The New York Times
“There's a whole lot of poetry in David Rakoff's final novel, Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish, and not just because it's written in rhyming couplets of iambic tetrameter.. . . You see him falling in love with language again, and knowing that it's his last chance to use it. His descriptions of significant moments in these characters' everyday lives are beautiful and melancholy. . . . It is funny and heartbreaking and, like Rakoff himself, not easy to forget.”
“. . . You can hear his voice again, wordy, so witty, a little worried, and always wise. . . . His mordant humor, his compassionate vision, his moral questioning, his sharp honesty, they’re all intimately wedded to the meter and the zestful diction of the book. . . . He is as vital, as blackly comic, as bursting forth with detail, as vernacular, and as poignant in metered verse as he is in his effortlessly long prose sentences. . . . Such an agile, vivid, and entertaining piece of writing.”
—The Boston Globe
“Even at six vivid verbs, the title doesn’t do justice to the breadth of this short, acrid, elusive, entrancing book. It’s motored by acts of viciousness and of startling kindness.” —Bloomberg
“What shines through in this novel, even more than in his nonfiction, is a piercing, wistful appreciation for life, love and art. . . . The point is that Rakoff's Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish is a rare bird: moving, amusing, lilting, crushing. It pains me to think what else this brilliant writer might have gone on to produce.”
—National Public Radio
“David Rakoff was an urbane wit whose essays were equally side-splitting and sorrowful, even when he was writing about the cancer that eventually took his life. His post-humous verse novel, Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish, is full of uproarious gloominess.”
“. . . Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish is a beautiful place to discover Rakoff’s incredible talent. It moves past—way past—any lazy comparisons to his contemporaries. It’s bigger, more ambitious. In verse, it limns entire lifetimes, captures moments of beauty and cruelty and grace. It is, in a word, complete.”
“The unabashedly lyrical approach perfectly encapsulates Rakoff’s wit, his intellect and his deeply felt soul.”
—The Canadian Press