My Last Eight Thousand Days

This revealing, candid, and vivid portrait of one man’s view of aging written by the man who played a crucial role in establishing literary, narrative nonfiction in the marketplace and in the academy, examines male aging in a way we’ve not seen before.

In My Last Eight Thousand Days, Gutkind turns his notepad and tape recorder inward, taking his skills as an immersion journalist to perform a deep dive on himself. Here, he offers a memoir of his life as a journalist, editor, husband, father, and Pittsburgh native, recounting not only his many triumphs, but also exposing his missteps and challenges.

The overarching concern which frames these brave, often confessional stories, is his obsession and fascination with aging: his resistance, his fears—how aging provoked anxieties and unearthed long-rooted tensions—and how he came to accept, even enjoy, his mental and physical decline. Gutkind documents the realities of aging with his characteristically blunt, melancholic wit and authenticity that drive the quiet force of all his work.


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“The master of immersion research has immersed himself this time in his own story, with courage and honesty, generosity and wisdom, holding nothing back. Anyone who is aging and/or confronting loneliness (that means pretty much everyone) could benefit from reading this thoroughly engaging book.”
               —Phillip Lopate

“Life-changing in its perceptive and honest revelations of growing older. A must-read for all of us longing to peel back the truth of ourselves.”
               —Gay Talese

“Lee Gutkind’s commitment to telling the truth, regardless of the discomfort, amounts to a kind of perfection in observation. He refuses to see what is not there, nor to exaggerate, nor to sentimentalize, and as a result, My Last Eight Thousand Days vibrates with a revelatory and somewhat dangerous freight: the feeling of actual life, actually lived.”
               —Rick Moody

“This memoir is alive with the urgency of a man in his seventies still yearning to achieve a realized life. Lee Gutkind takes this urgency and runs with it. Many readers, I predict, will see themselves writ large in the pages of this gutsy, heart-felt example of creative nonfiction at its best.”
               —Vivian Gornick

Author Bio

  • Lee Gutkind
    Lee Gutkind is the author and editor of more than thirty books, including You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction–from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between, Almost Human: Making Robots Think, The Best Seat in Baseball: But You Have to Stand, Forever Fat: Essays by the Godfather, and the award-winning, Many Sleepless Nights: The World of Organ Transplantation.
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