The Good Death of Kate Montclair

by Daniel McInerny

Kate Montclair is dying. She has arrived at late middle age loveless, childless, and having failed to achieve the career dreams of her youth. Now diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, she sees the next fourteen months of suffering as an intolerable prospect. Kate is desperate—not only for a miracle cure, but for some sense that her life, and life itself, amounts to something more than a catastrophe.

When she sees an advertisement for the Washington, DC Death Symposium, Kate investigates and learns that the monthly discussion group is led by none other than the idealistic and inimitable Adele Schraeder, an old friend she has not seen since their teaching days in Rome. On Adele’s advice, Kate soon decides to break Virginia law with an assisted suicide.

But Adele Schraeder is not the only person Kate reconnects with at the Death Symposium. Also present is Benedict Aquila, another friend from Rome, who has been living in DC while nursing his mother through her final illness. And then there is the strange, mentally ill street woman sitting in the corner, drawing pad in hand. Who is she? She is the Ariadne’s thread that will lead Kate on a journey back through the years to her youth, forcing her to come to grips with the love affair she had with a married man and the catastrophe that took his life.

Praise for The Good Death of Kate Montclair

“Daniel McInerny brings us a novel of characters flirting with the temptation to be their own author only to discover the plot of their lives is not up to them. This is a book of and for our dreary moment but one which reminds us that a good story brings serious pleasure and joyful wisdom to transform even the darkest of ages.” —James Matthew Wilson, author of The Strangeness of the Good

“Witty, exacting, independent Kate Montclair is a beloved English teacher . . . with a past. When a surprise diagnosis forces her to wrap up her affairs, she’s got it all under control—but has she misread the story of her own life? The Good Death of Kate Montclair is an enchanting, page-turning novel with real spiritual depth. An instant classic of 21st century Catholic fiction.” —Maya Sinha, author of The City Mother