Heidi Julavits at the New York Times:
Jenny Diski was dying. It was 10:07 a.m. on April 25; I Googled to make sure, before I filed this review, that she was still alive. She was. Her “onc doc” gave her a year in April 2015, which meant, if she survived another seven days, she would technically beat the projections. She did not. She died on the morning of April 28, 2016.
Diski, as she makes vitally clear in her new memoir, “In Gratitude,” spent her every moment on earth beating the projections of authority figures. She overcame abusive and neglectful parents, foster homes, suicide attempts, repeated hospitalizations and the persistently gloomy conviction of relatives, caregivers, teachers, doctors and occasionally herself that she would fail at whatever she attempted.
Diski did not fail. Over the past 30 years, Diski published 17 books of fiction and nonfiction and became a writer who commanded descriptions from reviewers like “individual” and “wildly various”; her books — such as her 1997 “so-called travel book,” “Skating to Antarctica” (which she described as being about “Icebergs, mothers. That sort of thing”) — all proof, as Giles Harvey wrote in a 2015 New York Times Magazine profile, of her “spectacular originality.”
In September 2014, two months after the diagnosis, Diski began publishing essays in The London Review of Books about her illness and impending death.