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Clancy Martin

September 17, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Magic City Books welcomes author Clancy Martin for an important conversation on the suicidal mind. How Not To Kill Yourself combines the author’s personal experience with a philosophical, literary, and journalistic inquiry, resulting in a deeply intimate, insightful, and at times even funny examination of why the thought of death is so compulsive for some while demonstrating that there’s always another solution.

This free event will take place in the Algonquin Room at Magic City Books on Sunday, September 17, at 2:00pm. *TRIGGER WARNING* As this frank discussion about suicidal ideation and attempts may be upsetting for some attendees.

How Not To Kill Yourself is available for purchase in store or on our web site, How Not to Kill Yourself | Magic City Books (square.site). Signed books will begin shipping on Monday, September 18.

CLANCY MARTIN is the acclaimed author of the novel How to Sell as well as numerous books on philosophy, and has translated works by Friedrich Nietzsche, Søren Kierkegaard, and other philosophers. A Guggenheim Fellow, his writing has appeared in The New YorkerNew YorkThe AtlanticHarper’sEsquireThe New RepublicLapham’s QuarterlyThe Believer, and The Paris Review. He is a professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and Ashoka University in New Delhi. He is the survivor of more than ten suicide attempts and a recovering alcoholic.

About How Not To Kill Yourself

“If you’re going to write a book about suicide, you have to be willing to say the true things, the scary things, the humiliating things. Because everybody who is being honest with themselves knows at least a little bit about the subject. If you lie or if you fudge, the reader will know.”

The last time Clancy Martin tried to kill himself was in his basement with a dog leash. It was one of over ten attempts throughout the course of his life. But he didn’t die, and like many who consider taking their own lives, he hid the attempt from his wife, family, coworkers, and students, slipping back into his daily life with a hoarse voice, a raw neck, and series of vague explanations.

In How Not to Kill Yourself, Martin chronicles his multiple suicide attempts in an intimate depiction of the mindset of someone obsessed with self-destruction. He argues that, for the vast majority of suicides, an attempt does not just come out of the blue, nor is it merely a violent reaction to a particular crisis or failure, but is the culmination of a host of long-standing issues. He also looks at the thinking of a number of great writers who have attempted suicide and detailed their experiences (such as David Foster Wallace, Yiyun Li, Akutagawa, Nelly Arcan, and others), at what the history of philosophy has to say both for and against suicide, and at the experiences of those who have reached out to him across the years to share their own struggles.

The result combines memoir with critical inquiry to powerfully give voice to what for many has long been incomprehensible, while showing those presently grappling with suicidal thoughts that they are not alone, and that the desire to kill oneself–like other self-destructive desires–is almost always temporary and avoidable.


September 17, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Magic City Books
221 E. Archer St.
Tulsa, OK 74103 United States
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Magic City Books