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How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences

In these thematically linked pieces, Sue William Silverman explores the fear of death, and her desire to survive it, through gallows humor, realism, and speculation. Although defeating death is physically impossible, language, commemoration, and metaphor can offer slivers of transcendent immortality.

Forward Review, Book of the Year Award, nominated in two categories: "memoir" and "humor."


BITCH MEDIA: "One of 9 Essay Collections Feminists Should Read in 2020."



One of 100: "The Best of the University Presses: 100 books to escape the news--selected from new books or favorite releases from any point in time."



One of Big Other's Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2020



She Reads: One of 11 memoirs by unbreakable women






"Silverman's new book is a joyously unconventional memoir written at least in part as a hedge against mortality. It will shake loose memories, invite you to ponder, and, maybe best of all, make you laugh. This is a marvelously written, imaginative, and seriously funny book." Abigail Thomas, New York Times best-selling author


"With true originality and wit, Silverman takes readers on a wild ride through time, memory, pleasure, and trauma. What remains is a deeply human portrait of one woman's resilience and the power of her spirit. I couldn't put it down." Christina Haag, New York Times bestselling author


BitchReads: One of 13 March Books for Feminists:  "Fearing death is normal, and in some ways, it's to be expected. After all, it's the one part of life's journey that we'll all experience and it's also the part we know the least about. Memoirist Sue William Silverman's goal, however, is a bit different: She wants to outwit death long enough to escape it, and she believes she's figured out how to do so. By creating recordings that will outlive her, reliving a youth where she was less concerned about mortality, and caring much less about how she will die than how she's lived her life, Silverman aims to cheat death. Though a book about death should be morbid and depressing, Silverman takes an unusual approach, packing both humor and wit into more than a dozen entertaining essays that may offer comfort to those dealing with death anxiety."


One of 9 Essay Collections Feminists Should Read in 2020:  "How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences is Silverman confronting that fear, connecting it the lingering trauma from a sexual assault, and exploring how her deathphobia has dictated so much of her life—from visiting emergency rooms for imagined illnesses to bending to the whims of an overly strict piano teacher. Silverman's fourth memoir is really about coming to terms with physical death while seeking to create immortal work." ~~ Evette Dionne, Bitch Media


"Self-aware, quirky, and fiercely intelligent…Silverman achieves a kind of immortality. Readers will find both traditionally and experimentally structured essays. Because of the distinctive subject matter and Silverman's vast writing talents, the book will appeal to new and experienced readers alike…. Read any random passage from any random page, and your ears will be delighted by a kaleidoscope of sound." ~~ HIPPOCAMPUS MAGAZINE


"The book's title may suggest this is a morbid book; yet, Silverman in her own clever way leans towards tongue-in-cheek, mixing pop culture, literature, and history with her stories and, of course, her unending quest to survive." BrevityMag.com



Author's Note  000

Ultima Thule     000

Fate 1


spins the thread of life


The Eternal Reign of Miss Route 17      000

13 Ways of Surviving New Jersey         000

Miss Route 17 Refuses to Grow Old     000

The Three Fates: How Much Is the Moon Worth?        000

The Remarkable Death-Defying Exploits of Miss Route 17        000

Until My Number Comes Up    000

Requiem for a Qwertyist           000

My Death in the Family 000

The Three Fates: Drawing the Shades   000

A Member of the Wedding       000


Fate 2


measures the thread of life to determine how long you live


The Sick Hypochondriac          000

The Three Fates: On Tedium     000

The Safe Side   000

My Life as a Thanatologist        000

The Janet Leigh Variations        000

The Summer of Hate and Death000

Here Be Human Dragons          000

Miss Route 17's Near-Death Experience Under the Boardwalk at the New Jersey Shore          000

Sigilisms of Miss Route 17's Many Hidden Talents        000

Death Comes for the Poet         000

Flirting with the Butcher000

The Three Fates and the Barefoot Angels          000


Fate 3


cuts the thread of life with a pair of shears to decide how someone dies


At the Terminal Gate     000

Miss Route 17's Own Graceland          000

Memorabilia: My Guardian Devils and The Phantom of the Opera Gloves          000

The Three Fates: When You Go           000

Of Chrysanthemums, Tupperware, Cremated Remains, and FedEx-ing to the Great Beyond      000

Miss Route 17's Blue Period    000

The Three Fates: Filling in the Blanks     000

On the Reliance of Verbs to Survive Death        000

The Queen of Panmnesia          000


Acknowledgments        000

Notes   000