So you wake up one morning, blind in one eye, and soon you learn that you have a 20% chance of going blind in the other eye too…

No, it has never happened to me. And I hope not to you either. But it did happen to journalist Frank Bruni.

I have just finished reading his resilient memoir, The Beauty of Dusk. Bruni’s affliction, non-arteritic anterior optic neuropathy, underlies the entire book but doesn’t dominate more than a couple of small sections of it. There are a dozen other themes as well, all expressed in Bruni’s beautifully clear prose. You may know him from the New York Times, either from his days as a restaurant reviewer or from his subsequent stint on the op-ed page or from his most recent position as a freelance opinion writer (in the Times and in his newsletter).

I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Bruni himself, in a straightforward and never self-pitying voice. The whole book is positive, occasionally sentimental but never veering into sentimentality. Reviewers have used adjectives like “uplifting” and “poignant,” but in no way is it a feel-good, everything-is-just-fine book. And even cat-lovers like me can’t help being affected by Bruni’s relationship with his dog, Regan.

This man is worth getting to know, and his memoir is a good way to do that.

Categories: Books, Life