'You're 82 years old. You've shrunk six centimetres, you only weigh 45 kilos yet you're still beautiful, graceful and desirable' -- so begins Andre Gorz's 'open love letter' to the woman he has lived with for 58 years and who lies dying next to him.
As one of France's leading post-war philosophers, Andre Gorz wrote many influential books, but nothing he wrote will be read as widely or remembered as long as this simple, passionate, beautiful letter to his dying wife. In a bittersweet postscript a year after Letter to D was published, a note pinned to the door for the cleaning lady marked the final chapter in an extraordinary love story. Andre Gorz and his terminally ill wife, Dorine, were found lying peacefully side by side, having taken their lives together.
They simply could not live without one another. An international bestseller, Letter to D is the ultimate love story -- and all the more poignant because it's true.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 144 pages, black & white illustrations
- Publisher: Polity Press
- Publication Date: 09/04/2009
- Category: Philosophy
- ISBN: 9780745646770
Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.
Review by AndrewBlackman
D is the André Gorz’s 82-year-old, terminally ill wife, and this short book is a letter written to her about a year before they both committed suicide at the same time, unable to bear the thought of being parted.It’s a beautiful story, augmented by a few lovely photos of the couple (I wanted more, actually). The telling is often very beautiful and poignant, although occasionally it’s surprisingly long-winded for such a short book, particularly in the parts where he’s examining some hurtful lines he wrote about her in his first book The Traitor. It almost feels sacrilegious to criticise him after all that emotional backstory, but that was my reaction. Another problem I had was that although it’s a letter to D, most of the book is about A, André Gorz. D is praised a lot, but mostly for the way she helped him in his career or in his existential struggles. I didn’t get much sense of what she wanted out of life, other than to be with him.That said, the beauty outweighs the problems. And Gorz was one of France’s leading 20th-century intellectuals, so there’s plenty of interesting history about intellectual life in mid-century Paris, 1968 etc. Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre figure quite prominently. I related to the couple’s early struggles to be true to their ideals while coping with the practicalities of paying the rent. I liked the way that, over the decades, Gorz came to understand what was truly important in his life, and to let go of so many of the other things that seemed important but weren’t.In short, it was an excellent book, but not quite the emotional love-letter I had expected. It’s a love-letter written by a philosopher, emotional in places but mostly analytical and contemplative. I read it in one sitting late at night, and would definitely recommend it to others.