How, exactly, did we get to May already? Normally, we’d make a joke here about the collapse of time and space or something similarly esoteric, but the hour is at hand when we should get to the recommending of books. And so here are some book recommendations for the month we’re in — and, if you’re behind on your reading, these books aren’t going anywhere.
There’s a long literary tradition of longform fiction set against the backdrop of someone on their deathbed. The Death of Ivan Ilyich is one of the lodestars here, for sure; I myself am partial to By Night in Chile for its haunting construction, both Satanic humblebrag and chastened confession. Max Porter’s latest novel, The Death of Francis Bacon, taps into that same dread-inducing momentum — the sense of a protagonist hurtling, depending on your (or their) perspective, into either the great beyond or complete nothingness.