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Author ponders death — at Green-Wood Cemetery

The Brooklyn Paper

Some things belong together: A rock show at the Bell House, an opera at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and, of course, morbidly depressing thoughts at Green-Wood Cemetery.

So we’re all in luck that death-obsessed author Alix Strauss — whose new book about the suicides of 20 famous people has been called “’Sex and the City’ meets ‘Six Feet Under’” — will be reading at Brooklyn’s best boneyard on Oct. 25.

The book “Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious,” captures the sad ends of famous self-slayers Virginia Woolf, Sid Vicious, Hunter Thompson, Kurt Cobain, Vincent van Gogh, and Spalding Gray. As such, the cemetery is “perfect,” Strauss said.

The book is witty, but Strauss is no suicide groupie. Rather, her pages act as a final goodbye to talented artists, even as she decodes their suicide notes, dives into the methodology of the deaths, and explores our own fixation with the morbid and suicidal.

“Suicide is such a solitary act and so final,” said Strauss, whose other books include “The Joy of Funerals,” a collection of short stories. “I was fascinated by the loneliness.”

Though she was fascinated by her subjects’ deaths, Strauss says she doesn’t plan on taking her own life. That said, she does hope to die on her own terms.

“I’m not scheduling,” she said, “but I’d love to be found naked surrounded by money.”

Alix Strauss reads from “Death Becomes Them” at Green-Wood Cemetery [Fifth Avenue and 25th Street in Sunset Park, (718) 768-7300].

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KC from GP says:
"...and the reading will bring people through respecting lives are bigger than our own.” Can someone who is snobby, vapid, & carries a heapin' helping of self importance please translate this for me? I know that she feels the need to try to relate to others to sell her book, but that statement, as well as her projected death wish, just come across as being profoundly asinine. I hope she can pull her head out of her keyster long enough to realize that most folks do realize that all lives hold importance & do not glorify or sensationalize suicide. Perhaps I'll thumb through the book to find out whether it's worthy of shelling out for the $20 price tag, but these quotes of hers make me feel that I could do better to buy food for the homeless than wasting my hard earned money on this book, & I am a total read-a-holic.
Oct. 19, 2009, 1:32 am

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