Every Third Thought
London: Picador, 2017.

In 1995, at the age of forty two, Robert McCrum suffered a dramatic and near-fatal stroke, the subject of his acclaimed memoir My Year Off. Ever since that life-changing event, McCrum has lived in the shadow of death, unavoidably aware of his own mortality. And now, twenty-one years on, he is noticing a change: his friends are joining him there. Death has become his contemporaries’ every third thought. The question is no longer ‘who am I?’ but ‘how long have I got?’ and ‘what happens next?’.

‘McCrum's awe at the mystery of the human brain is matched by his deep understanding of the consolations of music and literature, and his insistence on the importance of the immediate experience . . . Always lucidly and clearly written . . . As I closed it, I found myself encouraged and fortified. So, really, thank you, Robert.’

— Andrew Marr, Mail on Sunday 5-star review

‘Thoughtful, subtle, elegantly clever and oddly joyous, Every Third Thought is beautiful.’

— Kate Mosse

‘Beautifully contemplative account of what it means to be dying, as we all are, in the midst of life . . . [McCrum's] book is a deep and engaged set of questions and ruminations.’

— Kirsty Gunn, New Statesman

‘Wry and reflective... Fascinating and paradoxically enjoyable.’

— Roger Lewis, The Times

‘Exquisitely knowledgeable . . . it would be hard to find a more agreeable or erudite companion.’

— Literary Review

Watch Robert at The DO Lectures, 2016, below.

Selected non-fiction

The 100 Best Novels in English (2016)

Wodehouse (2004)

My Year Off (1998)

The Story of English (1986)


Selected fiction

Suspicion (1997)

Mainland (1991)

The World is a Banana (1988)

The Fabulous Englishman (1984)

In the Secret State (1980)