Kate Spade and the illness behind the smiles

Suicide, no matter how well we know a person, usually comes as a shock, even a violation, putting the lie to our conviction that existence is to be cherished.

The fact that taking one's own life can exist on a parallel track with our ordinary days, in which we go out to dinner or put our children to bed or worry about growing old, always puts me in mind of W.H. Auden's poem Musee des Beaux Arts.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 10, 2018, with the headline 'Kate Spade and the illness behind the smiles'. Print Edition | Subscribe