Laughing Death: The Untold Story of Kuru

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Also the task is to evaluate and assess, and to decide whether the work is a novel, or a book of memoirs, or a parody, or a lampoon, or a variation on imaginative themes, or psychological study; and to establish its predominant characteristics; whether the whole thing is a joke, or whether its importance lies in its deeper meaning, or whether it is just irony, sarcasm, ridicule ...Witold Gombrowicz in Ferdeydurke After procrastinating for over two years since Yin's death on the writing of this Foreword for his second auto- biographical work, I finally begin using the above quota- tion from Witold Gombrowicz. Yin Zigas was a genius; he was a romatic, he was a physician with compassion, he was a scientist with pene- trating curiosity, he was an actor, and he was a loyal friend. He was fundamentally a stylist. Many who knew him compared him to Don Quixote; the younger genera- tion compared him to Danny Kaye, not only in his appear- ance, but in his speech, movements, and actions. In his first autobiographical essay, Auscultation of Two Worlds, Yin surprised many of his friends by the flamboyant accounts of his dramatic life. I was hard pressed to com- ment on this first work, either to Yin himself or to our mutual friends. Everyone, after all, recognized me as his mentor in those passages, as they did most of his other thinly disguised characters.