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Canada’s assisted dying horror story

My favourite Martin Amis novel was his 1991 book Time’s Arrow. It is a pyrotechnically brilliant work in which all time goes backwards. On publication it was criticised in some quarters because the novel includes a reverse version of the Holocaust and some thought Amis was using the Holocaust as a literary device. As so often, these transient critics didn’t get the point. It is hard to say anything new about the Holocaust or find any new angle on it.

But Amis managed, because towards the end of the novel (that is, at the beginning of the Holocaust) one of the characters starts to worry about the bodies that they are bringing out of the crematoria. They used to pull fully formed bodies out of the ovens, but increasingly he notices that the people they are pulling out are deformed. Eventually they are pitifully so. The character starts to wonder whether it is worth the effort.

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