By Kyle | November 13, 2010
Christopher Hitchens continues to amaze. I’m told he has commmitted to two more books, one a work of nonfiction which I assume is to be a memoir and one to be a tome of selected, previously published essays. He is going to debate Tony Blair and give interviews, such as this lengthy one with the Guardian. I didn’t know Hitchens had a one-year affair with Anna Wintour in the 1970s; in “Hitch-22,” which should be listened to in its audio format (read by the author) to get the full force of the Hitch’s dry wit and determined baritone, Hitchens barely mentions his two wives, his girlfriends or his children (though he notes that he could scarcely conceal his pride when his son agreed to visit with him the Green Zone in Baghdad during a very violent period). His personal motto, he says in the book, is “Allons travailler,” or let’s work. I assume he is not cribbing this catchphrase from the Mark Wahlberg film “The Big Hit.” Though Hitchens’ health is not good, he is also very far from tossing in the sponge. As for the deathbed conversion, don’t wait up for it:
“So now I know that there’s another life in my body that can’t outlive me but can kill me, it’s the perfect moment to gratefully acknowledge that I’m a product of a cosmic design? Who thinks up these arguments? Actually it’s an insulting question: ‘I hear you’re dying. Well wouldn’t it be a good time to get rid of your beliefs?’ Try it on them and see how they would like it. ‘Christian, right? Cancer of the tits?’ ‘Well, yes, since you ask.’ ‘Well, can I suggest you now drop all that tripe?'”
Encouragingly, the correspondent — a superb writer himself, Andrew Anthony — admits to being bested by Hitchens when it came to drink:
We repair back to the apartment for a nightcap or two, and I fear it is I, the ostensibly well one, who crashes first.
The following morning Hitchens rises late, as is his routine nowadays, and after working for an hour or two, reconvenes our discussion over lunch. We sit in the dining room with the window open on a distinctly chilly autumn afternoon. He’s wearing just a thin shirt, while I shiver in a thick pullover. Not for the first time, I feel a twinge of pity for that tumour. Does it realise what it’s up against?