SAN MATEO, Calif. — The literary pairing was inevitable.
“When Breath Becomes Air,” Paul Kalanithi’s memoir of his final years as he faced lung cancer at age 37, was published posthumously, in 2016, to critical acclaim and commercial success. “The Bright Hour,” Nina Riggs’s memoir of her final years as she faced breast cancer at age 39, was published posthumously, in 2017, to critical acclaim and commercial success. The two books were mentioned together in numerous reviews, lists and conversations.
Perhaps less inevitable was that the late authors’ spouses would end up together, too.
“I’m still surprised,” said Lucy Kalanithi of her relationship with Nina Riggs’s widower, John Duberstein. “I’m surprised by how ridiculous it is and how natural it is at the same time.”
Sitting across the kitchen table from Lucy last week at her home, John agreed. “Everything seemed almost bizarrely to fit,” he said. “It was kind of …
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