Back in August 2010, I predicted – correctly – that one of Christopher Hitchens’s Vanity Fair essays on his cancer would end up in The Best American Series. Editor Edwidge Danticat selected “Topic of Cancer” for the 2011 edition of the anthology, which, as usual, also features several other pieces on medical matters, such as Katy Butler on the perversity of a healthcare system that extends suffering in pursuit of profits, Victor LaValle on his life (or, more specifically, his sex life) before and after major weight loss, Bridget Potter recounting an abortion she had as a teenager in 1962, and Rachel Riederer describing recuperating after being run over by a bus.
Although Hitchens refers to his illness in the introduction to Arguably (and thanks his doctors in the acknowledgments), he did not include the Vanity Fair essays of illness in the collection. He reiterates his goal of wanting to “write posthumously,” and I can’t help suspecting he envisions the eventual appearance of at least one more volume, gathering his personal reflection on mortality, perhaps. I make no prediction this time, but I wouldn’t be surprised.