Penultimates, by Thomas Farber

Thomas Farber in conversation with Robert Anton Patterson
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Critical Praise

An intimate and moving book by a master stylist. Farber’s words sear though the page, wounding and healing at the same time. 
—Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Gene: An Intimate History and The Emperor of All Maladies

Somewhere in that infinite space between poetry and prose sits this latest (always asking itself if it's the last) work by the iconoclastic, inestimable Thomas Farber. Weaving together memory and memorials, a clear-eyed view of what it means to face an end (the end?), and Farber's wide-ranging and discursive understanding of friendship, ambition, work, and love in all their many complexities, PENULTIMATES is a lively, empathetic, funny, and above all searingly compassionate view of the world as Farber has lived and loved it. 
—Eva Hagberg, author of When Eero Met His Match and How To Be Loved

This is a book about death. It is also a book about surfing. It is a poem. It is also prose, or whatever you want to call it. Mostly, it is a Book of Wisdom in the ancient sense of the term, like what Hesiod or Lao Tzu might have written had they lived into the 21st century, and been possessed of a wicked sense of humor, a vast arsenal of kick-ass quotes, and an indefatigable love of life that bubbles up through every sadness and disappointment.
—Morgan Meis, author of The Fate of The Animals and The Drunken Silenus

In Penultimates, Thomas Farber gives us what we need most: a rich, funny, and searching meditation about questions facing us at the end: How to live, how to die, what does it mean? Refracted through a range of artists and thinkers including Joni Mitchell, the Buddha, Hemingway, Freud, Richard Posner, Leonard Cohen (and Sylvester Stallone !), this is the literary companion we crave, even if we can’t yet admit it to ourselves. A guide we deserve for the passage awaiting us all.
—Elizabeth Weil, author of No Cheating, No Dying, coauthor of The Girl Who Smiled Beads

By Thomas Farber


Published: Manoa Books/El León
January 20, 2024

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Zainab Omaki on Thomas Farber’s Penultimates

Penultimates: A Conversation with Thomas Farber – curated by Kristina Marie Darling