Ep. 361 Exploring End-of-Life Controversies Through Fiction Writing with John Byrne Barry

Learn about a novel that explores the moral dilemma of a son whose father asks him to end his suffering by hastening his death.

My guest John Byrne Barry is a writer, designer, actor, pickleball player, and crossing guard. He is the author of the novel When I Killed My Father: An Assisted-Suicide Family Thriller that explores what might happen if a son followed through on his father’s request to hasten the end of his life. He discusses how fictional stories can help us address controversial issues and find new perspectives on them and why he writes fiction “with a conscience.” Learn more about his writing at his website:


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This episode includes:

  • Why John chose to wrote a novel that addresses a family member helping a loved one end his life
  • How John did research for the book in order to understand hospice, end-of-life and right-to-die issues
  • How fiction can help us look at controversial and complicated issues and find more compassion for one another
  • How John portrayed communication issues, old family conflicts, and shadow wounds as obstacles to decision-making in the book
  • What John learned from writing this book
  • How end-of-life issues are becoming more visible in popular culture
  • What readers might take away from the book and apply to their own lives

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