Thursday, June 25, 2015

book now to avoid disappointment

You'll have been wondering, after the last post documenting the senseless slaughter of another author, how potent the juju I evidently wield is. Well, that answer seems to be: it varies. While my first victim, Michael Dibdin, lived less than two months after first featuring in the list, others have survived for over seven-and-a-half years, although there does seem to be a cluster of deaths between there and eight years; Gabriel García Márquez at seven years and 284 days is the current longevity record-holder. Doris Lessing is the oldest victim at 94, but there is a cluster of six authors between 85 and 90. Michael Dibdin and Iain Banks are the only two who could really be said to have been taken "before their time".

Author Date of first book Date of death Age Curse length
Michael Dibdin 31st January 2007 30th March 2007 60 0y 59d
Beryl Bainbridge 14th May 2008 2nd July 2010 77 2y 50d
Russell Hoban 23rd August 2010 13th December 2011 86 1y 113d
Richard Matheson 7th September 2011 23rd June 2013 87 2y 291d
Elmore Leonard April 16th 2009 20th August 2013 87 4y 128d
Iain Banks 6th November 2006 9th June 2013 59 7y 218d
Doris Lessing 8th May 2007 17th November 2013 94 7y 196d
Gabriel García Márquez 10th July 2007 17th April 2014 87 7y 284d
Ruth Rendell 23rd December 2009 2nd May 2015 85 5y 132d
James Salter 4th February 2014 19th June 2015 90 1y 136d

So the message seems to be: if you featured in a book review in this blog between seven and eight years ago, and you are now over 80, you are probably fucked. Surveying the book reviews between the middle of 2007 and the middle of 2008 suggests the most likely candidates are Joyce Carol Oates (age 77), David Lodge (age 80) and Milan Kundera (age 86). Keep an eye on the obituaries.

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