NOW THAT I AM GONE by Allan MacDonell


A Memoir Beyond Recall
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A memoirist takes stock of his life and legacy with a purportedly posthumous memoir.

In the foreword, MacDonell (Punk Elegies: True Tales of Death Trip Kids, Wrongful Sex, and Trial by Angel Dust, 2015, etc.) writes, “now that I’ve passed on, left us, passed away, passed over, add euphemism to taste, now that I am dead, I have pledged the world’s most exclusive fraternity.” The last two chapters also feature writing from the afterlife, one that the author dreads (too many meetings) and another that he would prefer (with a barista, a dog park, and a typically disgruntled Lou Reed). So, the veracity of what is presented as nonfiction must be taken with a grain of salt, and the results are funny in both senses of the word—humorous and strange. “I always said you had another book in you,” says his second wife, who in this book is often his widow, amid plenty of commentary from so-called friends that their relationship wasn’t ideal. MacDonell writes of having no children and why, though a couple crop up in the afterlife. He loves his dogs, he had a string of girlfriends, and he had a record collection that cultists and collectors would envy. There’s a whole chapter about his funeral, with the songs he selected to be played, though they weren’t, culminating in what one guest calls “this bikini party funeral,” and another on scattering his ashes. One is written about the dogs he has left behind, from the perspective of one of them: “Some people, humans I’m talking about, might protest that animals shouldn’t tell stories. Maybe. I can’t speak for every animal, but dogs talk among ourselves, and we’re in a position to see things about people that no human sees.” Mostly, MacDonell riffs about life’s aimlessness and meaninglessness, with very little in the way of professional and personal particulars that might justify how this life is any more worth reading about than anyone else’s.

An oddity. The dead apparently continue to tell stories—and a few jokes.

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-947856-20-2
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2018


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