Ted Chiang on unspendable grief

Since I read Ted Chiang’s collection of short stories “Stories of your life and others,” including the marvelous title piece that inspired Arrival, I’ve been looking forward to his newly published collection “Exhalation.” The first story’s main character tells of his experience coping with the loss of his wife, and has this beautiful passage describing grief as an unspendable resource:

Can the torments of hell be worse than what I endured in the days that followed? It seemed likely that I would find out, so near to death did my anguish take me. And surely the experience must be similar, for like infernal fire, grief burns but does not consume; instead, it makes the heart vulnerable to further suffering.

I haven’t finished the collection yet, but so far all the stories have been wonderful. Anyway, that’s all for now—see you next time!


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