Christopher Hitchens, the author and Vanity Fair essayist, has died at age 62. Erik Wemple's blog in the Washington Post strings together some memorable tributes to Hitchens, whose writing talents were equalled by his ability to drink others under the table.
From Vanity Fair's own tribute: “Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone else—just as he had been for the last four decades.
In the same week, the literary world lost another great: Russell Hoban. The New York Times obit noted that he was best known for writing dozens of children's books, including a series about a badger named Frances. I remember him best for the post-apocalyptic novel "Riddley Walker," whose creative language was simply stunning.
R.I.P. Hitch and Russell.