Doomed and famous : Selected obituaries
“Here comes Mr. Death!” Working as an obituarist for decades, Adrian Dannatt has tracked and dredged the dead, often finding his subjects amongst colleagues, friends and acquaintances with a macabre disregard for the etiquette of mortality. His speciality are those who would not otherwise merit such attention; personalities that had drifted their whole lives under the radar of public appreciation and whose eccentricity or criminality made them impossible candidates for the fleeting immortality of a newspaper necrology.
Dannatt is devoted to the odd and outrageous, marginal and maverick, maintaining a veritable lust, perverse certainly, for turning their wayward existences into a snappy thousand words of polished prose. This book is a selection of some of the best, meaning most improbable, of these miniature biographies, simply arranged in chronological order from over twenty-five years of such an unusual if not sinister occupation.
Here is compiled an almost fictive cast of characters including an imaginary Sephardic count in Wisconsin, an insomniac collector of the world’s rarest clocks, a discrete Cuban connoisseur of invisibility, an alcoholic novelist in Rio, a Warhol Superstar gone wrong, a leading downtown Manhattan dominatrix, a conceptual artist who blew up a museum and much, much more.
Beginning with a preface in which the author outlines his obsession with the dead and that lifelong lure-of-the-obscure, Dannatt terminates this volume with his own extinction, performing the difficult if not dangerous task of penning his personal life history and ultimate end, his own obituary indeed.