Death and Dying


Set in bombed-out Berlin of 1945, Petzold's 'Phoenix' questions who was guilty, and of what, in the daily workings of the Holocaust—and will there be a reckoning?

'A God in Ruins'

Centered around the missing bomber pilot from 'Life After Life,' Atkinson's 'A God in Ruins' examines the interplay of real life and the life of the imagination.

'Small Mercies: A Novel'

Set on present day Staten Island Eddie Joyce's 'Small Mercies' traces the effect of 9/11 on the families of people living in “the servants’ quarters of New York."

Unmarked Territory

Dying is an adult activity. This has been one of its bigger surprises for me. I find I need to leave behind the child side of myself to go where I now need to go.

Letter from Rome

Following the Orthodox Church, Francis announces World Day of Prayer's theme; U.S. Bishops don't. Why is Francis silent about mob's "Godfather-like" funeral in Rome?

Last Word: Two Confederate Flags

While my husband snapped photos of the flag, I stood in silent debate with Big Ed. And then I spied another Confederate flag; an unwelcome sensation came over me.

Poem | Aunt Grace Wears Beautiful Clothes

Asleep, she has no idea she is old. // She’s running uphill, no lightfoot, but quite fast / past the houses and driveways of family friends / toward the higher...

Commonweal Interviews

Featuring the best of our interviews—including Woody Allen, Jorge Luis Borges, Mary Gordon, (Sister) Elizabeth McAlister, Christian Wiman, and Mario Cuomo...

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Anne Enright's new novel suggests something simple—family, for good or ill, keeps forming us even when we try to escape it—but her prose constantly surprises.

Poem | Celebration

It picks up the speed of streaming recall / and takes us off post-equinox able to signify. // Or so I guess: Ninety is old, I / keep telling myself...

Common Hells, Private Heavens

Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell each has its own floor. Evoking horror, repentance and beatitude, more than 40 African artists exhibit a new look at Dante and divinity.

Last Word: Senioritis

Often the way our society treats "senior citizens" assumes that as bodies age, individuality decreases. But aren't whiskers and white socks a sign of unique wisdom?
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