Book cover for On Consolation

On Consolation



11 November 2021
568 minutes
Imprint: Picador


An extraordinary meditation on loss and mortality - drawing on all of Michael Ignatieff’s powers as a philosopher, a historian, a politician and a man. His portraits of figures such as Hume and Montaigne are sharp and dignified, troubling and consoling, thoughtful and deeply humane.

In an age when we are so much in need of solace, Michael Ignatieff went looking for it in texts
and times whose assumptions are profoundly different from our own. The result is a secular
reinterpretation of a landscape that has often seemed visible only through a religious lens: it is
elegant, humane and intensely rewarding.

A wonderful balance of literary survey and personal reflection, this book is wide-ranging, moving, and stylishly written. It makes the perfect introduction to a genre that never goes out of fashion.
Reading this book is like taking a walk along a winding path with a dear friend and sharing life’s travails. But the friend keeps metamorphosing - into Montaigne or Marx or Mahler, Anna Akhmatova or Albert Camus. At the end, you feel enlivened, fortified, and somehow just a little wiser. This is a bold, brilliant, and yes, moving book.