Book Giveaway: Greg Baxter’s A Preparation for Death

Few books this year have had me launch into such trills of praise as Greg Baxter’s A Preparation for Death. It is a vigorous, painful, bright-eyed wonder. Not everyone agrees: Will Rycroft found it “infuriating” (though also “beautiful”). Inside Books thought it at times “plain disturbing” (as did I, which was one of the things I loved about it). In the UK press, the only review I’ve seen was in the Sunday Times (now hidden behind a paywall), which praised the book but then spent most of its length detailing negative points. Sometimes it seemed like the only person who loved the book as much as I did was Anne Enright.

So I hope this draw will find A Preparation for Death a few more willing submissives. Penguin have generously offered five copies to readers of this blog. If you think it might be your cup of Marmite, say so below and your name will be entered in a draw for a free copy. The only requirement is that you should come back here and share your thoughts on the book, positive or, er, not so positive. (Or do so on your own blog, or Amazon etc.) The draw closes at midnight BST on Saturday 24 July 2010 and is open to entrants worldwide.


  1. This may well be my marmite. I enjoy being challenged by fiction – and certainly your review and the snippets you’ve quoted above indicate that this is exactly what this book will do.

  2. I may be the only person in the world who is indifferent to Marmite – I can take it or leave it – but I’d be very happy to be entered into the draw.

  3. Dear Mr Self,

    I’d like to toss my hat in the ring, my keys in the bowl, my name in your draw for a copy of Baxter’s “A Preparation for Death”.

    Thanks now.

  4. I love marmite with cheese, so if you send me one I’ll put it on a cracker with a slice of cheese and tell you if it goes down well.

  5. Saw the author give a talk here in Dublin recently, very engaging. Please put my name into the draw.

  6. Would love to throw my hand (and any other body part required) into the ring for a copy of the book.

    Fingers crossed my name is drawn…I never win anything (sympathy vote!?).

  7. I hate Marmite. But believe this book would be very meaningful to me, having watched my mother prepare for her death (from ALS) with such grace and dignity.

    Though I assume over here in Australia, this isn’t open to me. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on it though.

  8. I’d love a copy of this book. I read your review, but also heard some great comments from friends. I want to read this book.

  9. Having briefly been a student of Greg’s, I’d be interested to read it and knowing that he’s a regular reader of my blog would make it an interesting experience to review it. It was got a comically unfavourable review in one of the Irish broadsheets (though not the one Greg writes for): see here.

  10. Please enter me in the draw. I’ve read your review — and scratched my head at that long comment someone left, about the book cover. If I win this, I’ll definitely review this over at the blog.


  11. Marmite? No thanks, I don’t do weird foods like that. But I’d surely love to turn off the radio and give Greg’s work a read!

  12. I feel a personal review of this book is the only sensible solution.
    Please add me to the long list of contestants for this book draw.

    (And I would be willing to review the marmite as well if a sample is included)

  13. Hello. Please count me in, the book sounds compelling and whether I love it or hate it I promise to review it.

  14. I also never win anything either but I already have a copy. Drat. But I will get back on here with comments when the day I read it finally comes.

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  16. I’m still holding out hope of winning one of these give away draws. Maybe this is the lucky entry….

  17. Could I enter a second entry on Shawna’s behalf? I don’t want to win for myself but I know she is now living in the wilds of Northern Saskatchewan with only the Northern Lights for entertainment. So if I can have an entry, I’d like it to be for her.

  18. I’d also like to be included in the draw (stumbled upon it just in the nick of time!) and would be more than happy to provide a review.

  19. I’d love to be added to the drawing, though I’m intrigued enough by the book that I’m going to add it to my “to-acquire” list anyway.

  20. Thanks for all the entries. The winners, courtesy of were numbers 25, 31, 32, 50 and 60.

    (The draw was from 62 entrants as some people left comments but didn’t want to be entered.) This means the winners are:

    Máire T. Robinson
    Robin Harvie

    I’ve emailed you for your addresses, so please reply as soon as you can so that I can pass your details on to Penguin.

  21. Ho hum on the longlist, John…everyone is getting a little frothy on the Grauniad site for some reason. Where’s Rachman? Ah well. I’m automatically rooting for Jacobson, but would be quite happy to see Mitchell, Galgut and Levy, say, get it for other efforts.

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