For the past eleven years, San Francisco Chronicle reporter Graydon Hubbell has been assigned to write obituaries, working in a corner of the newsroom known as Section Eight, long occupied by the paper’s most cantankerous and often impolitic reporters.
Initially, Hubbell regarded writing obituaries as a morbid and thoroughly distasteful assignment, but he now regards himself as a master of the genre, as capable of writing a final salute to the rich and powerful as of composing a simple farewell for the eccentric and notorious.
Then Hubbell learns he has cancer. He is determined to defy the disease and work at the paper for as long as he can, but as his career implodes through a series of increasingly absurd mishaps, confrontations and mistakes, the obituary writer must come to terms with the fact that his own life is coming to an end.
Written with humor and pathos, “Dying Words” is a novel about mortality and remembrance, the story of an aging newspaper reporter less afraid of dying than of being forgotten.