WINNER OF THE 2021 BABELIO PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION
A timely, powerful reflection on our relationship to death and an invitation to accept loss and vulnerability as essential and enriching parts of life, from France’s most prominent female rabbi and a leading intellectual. Living with Our Dead Ones is a profoundly humanist, universal, and hopeful book that celebrates life, love, memory and the power of storytelling to inspire and sustain us.
In this moving book by one of France’s few female rabbis and leader of the country’s Liberal Jewish Movement, Delphine Horvilleur recounts eleven stories of loss, mourning, and consolation, collected during the years she has spent caring for the dying and their loved ones.
From Elsa Cayat, the psychologist and Charlie Hebdo columnist killed in the 2015 terrorist attack, to Simone Veil and Marceline Loridan, “the girls of Birkenau”; from Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated in 1995, to Myriam, a New Yorker obsessed with planning her own funeral, to the author friend’s Ariane and her struggle with terminal illness. Horvilleur writes about public figures and ordinary people alike, describing their encounters with death and dying with intelligence, humor, and compassion. Rejecting the contemporary tendency to banish death from our thoughts and discourse, she encourages us to embrace its presence as a fundamental part of life.
Delphine Horvilleur is one of the few female Rabbis in France. She was ordained in America, as there was no possibility to study in France as a woman, and is the leader of the Liberal Jewish Movement of France. Her writings have appeared in the Washington Post and Haaretz. She lives in Paris.