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A Good Enough Life

A Good Enough Life

Philosophers, psychologists, and mystics perceive crisis as an opportunity for growth, with the most dramatic crisis being the experience of death. In A Good Enough Life, documentary film writer and director Susan Gabori has turned to this ultimate human experience, revealing the profound paradox of confronting life when faced with the inevitability of death. In monologues shaped from interviews with twelve terminally ill people, Gabori explores how people try to cope with death. Reflecting on the lives they have led and what still lies before them, each person interviewed for the book deals eloquently, in their own words, with a topic many people cannot bring themselves to discuss freely.

The twelve speakers in A Good Enough Life are dying of AIDS, cancer, or ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and range in age from thirty-three to seventy-eight. To protect their identities and those of their families, Gabori has given them names other than their own. Yet, in their own voices, they speak uninterrupted about life in the face of impending death. Gabori approached each of them, looking for answers she was sure they had, even though they might be unaware of it. They each answered questions they had never before been asked and many revealed things they had never before told anyone for fear of not being understood. All but one of the twelve people featured in the book have died. Although they led radically different lives, certain realizations and understandings echo from one portrait to another. Each story is filled with honesty and the joy of discovery in the midst of extraordinary struggles and hardships. Together, they offer a priceless gift: the opportunity to find out more about life at the end of the human journey.


With a master's degree in film studies from Hornsey College of Art, London, England, Montreal writer Susan Gabori started her career as a camerawoman. She has written and directed documentary films for the National Film Board, the CBC, and CTV, and has also written numerous articles for magazines and newspapers. She is the author of two previous books, In Search of Paradise, about a family of Italian immigrants, and Blind Sacrifice, portraits of eight convicted murderers. A Good Enough Life is an ambitious, fascinating, heart-breaking, and breathtaking work that few would dare undertake.

"It is doubtful that the dying's side of the story has ever been told so eloquently and painfully... brave excursions into rarely observed territory... should satisfy the imaginations of those curious about one of society's last taboos." — Quill & Quire

"Life lessons from the dying... compelling reading... inform[s] us of some of the ways in which we in the minority attempt to come to that reassurance we so desperately seek." — The Globe and Mail

274 pages
Pub date: August 27, 2002