David Rakoff set out to fill pretty big shoes --
The figurative footwear of Spenser, or Seuss,
Among other titans, whom rhyme connoisseurs
Consider the masters of meter and verse.
He was daunted, but Rakoff would not be defeat
-Ed, or beat the retreat -- he jumped in with both feet.
And though he risked failure, or being committed
He filled those big shoes like they'd been custom-fitted.
What I just read could be politely described as "doggerel". But imagine instead that it had been witty, and observant, and profound, and sometimes profoundly sad. Then imagine it filling an entire book.
And that will give you an idea of what it's like to read, "Love, Dishonour, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish -- A Novel By...David Rakoff" -- which is being published today.
Mr. Rakoff finished the book just a month before his death from cancer in August of last year. He was forty-seven.
It was his first book of fiction, rhyming or otherwise. He was best-known for the brilliant essays in his books, "Fraud", "Don't Get Too Comfortable", and "Half Empty". But he was also a brilliant storyteller. And he demonstrated that skill repeatedly on the radio program "This American Life". He appeared on that program twenty-five times.
Ira Glass is the host and executive producer of "This American Life". Last month, Carol spoke to him from a New York studio about Mr. Rakoff, and his final book. Tonight, we're going to air that conversation again. And a warning: there's a little profanity in this conversation.