Talbot's "Between Heaven and Hell" recounts his experience as a stroke survivor, from agonizing days in the hospital to coping with physical difficulties when he arrived home.
The author of the San Francisco history "Season of the Witch" and founder of the Salon news site says his recovery heightened his appreciation of life and tolerance for others.
Rooted in Facebook posts, the book remains lighthearted in recounting his challenges. Humor and appreciation for care-givers and family members are dominant themes.
Not free from baby-boomer self-absorption, the book highlights small triumphs and gratitude for daily blessings. The pleasures of food, music and literature lessen his struggles.
As his healing progresses, Talbot renews his commitment to political activism, expressing hope that citizen involvement can bring progressive change. While touching upon the Trump administration's assaults on the Constitution, Talbot focuses on his beloved San Francisco's increasing economic disparities and loss of bohemian spirit.
Biographical vignettes include a brief overview of his founding of Salon, his struggles with Hollywood producing films from his books and details about his family. He looks back on the up and down career of his father, character actor Lyle Talbot, and his late marriage to Talbot's mother, the singer and actress Paula Epple.
Talbot's wife, Camille Peri, gives unwavering, heroic support. His siblings, New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot, documentary producer Stephen Talbot and doctor Cynthia Talbot, also step up. Talbot's also buoyed by fatherhood, expressing pride at the critical acclaim his son, Joe, receives for his film, "The Last Black Man in San Francisco."
Talbot holds on to his optimism in a closing chapter about he and his family fleeing San Francisco when wildfires make the city's air hazardous. They stay in a cramped hotel in Carmel, Calif., joining others enjoying the beach despite the apocalyptic threat. Talbot extols the resilience of the human spirit rather than succumbing to pessimism.
Their return to San Francisco gives hope that the city and its people will build a bright new future.