“It’s like peeping over the edge of the world while remembering you’ve left your spectacles on the kitchen table,” she writes of her cruelly paradoxical situation: knowing that death is on its way without knowing when exactly it will arrive.
Jenny Diski has inoperable lung cancer—and the prolific British essayist has chosen to write through it, often addressing her cancer in a “pull-me, push-me” structure alongside the three years she spent as the foster daughter of Doris Lessing. In a piece at the Times by Giles Harvey, Diski explains her apprehension about writing an honest autobiographical cancer narrative “against type” and free of cliché. “Under no circumstances is anyone to say that I lost a battle with cancer,” she says. “I am not fighting, losing, winning or bearing.”