07 February 2019, The Tablet

The hour of our death


 

Time to Go
GUY KENNAWAY
(Mensch Publishing, 272 PP, £14.99)
Tablet Bookshop price £13.49 • Tel 020 7799 4064

The author of this book wonders if it might have been better written as a novel rather than as a work of non-­fiction. He has a point, but many good books refuse to fit a single genre, so it might help the reader to approach Time to Go as meta-fiction or fictionalised-non-fiction.

It tells the story of the author’s relationship with his 88-year-old mother and how he responds to her intention to kill herself at a time of her own choosing, rather than waste away in a care home. There’s a lot of gallows humour in the book about how he researched the best ways for her to end her life without landing him in jail – nitrogen seems to be the answer – but the heart of the book is the case she herself makes for her right to do this. “I am simply wanting to go while the going is still good, when I can be responsible for my life and my death …Why the hell should anyone tell me I do not have the right to dispose of myself when and how I wish? I do not believe in God and in the same way I do not think that MPs, lords, the judiciary and the Church … should be able to arbitrate on my death.”

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