‘We Are Not Alone, and We Never Have Been.’
Part two of a two-part conversation with Michael Ignatieff on his beautiful and poignant new book “On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times.”
By Michael Judge
Last week in part one of my interview with esteemed author, historian, and former Canadian politician, Michael Ignatieff, I wrote that over a nearly 50-year career, Ignatieff has published 20 books, including The Needs of Strangers (1984), Blood and Belonging (1995), and The Ordinary Virtues (2017). But his latest book, On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times (2021), has taken him in what he calls “a new direction.” Now in his mid-70s, he’s turned to “thinking about the history of our attempts to console ourselves for the timeless ordeals of life—death, loss and tragedy—and how we manage, despite everything, to live in hope.” And I have to say, that while we talked of loss and touched on everything from the death of Gustav Mahler’s 5-year-old daughter, Marie, from scarlet fever, to my older brother John’s suicide when I was 16, I came away from our conversation consoled. In his introduction, …
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