A Very Easy Death (audiobook)

Translated by Patrick O’Brian
Read by Hillary Huber
3.1 hrs • 3 CDs• 1 MP3 CD • Unabridged
Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Target Audience: Adult
Release Date: 02/01/05
Library CD Library Edition CD titles are packaged in an attractive, full-sized, durable vinyl case with full color art. Cloth Sleeves keep compact discs protected and in numerical order. 
- 02/01/05 9780786187461
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MP3 CD MP3-CDs: Come in a durable vinyl case similar to a dvd case. An index of contents and tracking information are included within the Mp3-CD format. MP3's can be played on any compatible CD player 
- 02/01/05 9780786183081
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Considered by many to be the master work by Simone de Beauvoir, A Very Easy Death focuses on death and the other limitations in one’s life and with what attitude one approaches them.

When her mother was in the hospital with terminal cancer, Simone and her sister, Poupette, had to face the decision of whether to prolong a life when it is full of suffering. Their mother, pale, lying on her bed with her “nose pinched, her mouth open,” was not aware of where she was or what day it was. Simone and her sister said to the doctors, “Why torture Mama, if there is no hope?” And Poupette said to them, “Promise me that you will not let her suffer.”

Like most people, they believed that it would be better to die than to continue to suffer. Simone saw that this thinking stemmed from a philosophy of life that says that suffering is unjust and that suffering should be ended as soon as one is able to end it.

On the other hand, their mother had a very different view of the matter. Françoise de Beauvoir had finally found happiness in her life—after an early life that was not particularly happy, as Simone now realizes—and she did not want to leave it. She kept up a lively interest in what was going on in the world, questioning her daughters about happenings on the international scene. And, even though she was a religious woman, she was not yet ready to meet her God. She truly believed she could find happiness in her own suffering.

Through her mother’s beauty, her smile, and her pride in her life and in herself, Simone learned that to be human and to have individual choice are the most important aspects of existence.

Review Quotes

“Shows the power of compassion when it is allied with acute intelligence. This is a fine book.”

Sunday Telegraph (London)

“Hillary Huber offers a respectful narration of the intimate story…[Her] matter-of-fact performance retains a nuance of sensitivity in exactly the right measure.”


“Simone de Beauvoir’s dusty answer is depressingly effective.” 

Kirkus Reviews

“Huber’s portrayal of a vital, intelligent woman in her prime and a frail one at the end of her life is a sensitive masterpiece that subtly captures de Beauvoir’s inner conflicts and her mother’s pain, spirit and dignity.”