The Undertaking

The Undertaking

Life Studies From the Dismal Trade

Book - 1997
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"Every year I bury a couple hundred of my townspeople." So opens this singular and wise testimony. Like all poets, inspired by death, Thomas Lynch is, unlike others, also hired to bury the dead or to cremate them and to tend to their families in a small Michigan town where he serves as the funeral director. In the conduct of these duties he has kept his eyes open, his ear tuned to the indispensable vernaculars of love and grief. In these twelve pieces his is the voice of both witness and functionary. Here, Lynch, poet to the dying, names the hurts and whispers the condolences and shapes the questions posed by this familiar mystery. So here is homage to parents who have died and to children who shouldn't have. Here are golfers tripping over grave markers, gourmands and hypochondriacs, lovers and suicides. These are the lessons for life our mortality teaches us.
Publisher: New York : WW Norton & Co., c1997.
ISBN: 9780393041125
0393041123
Characteristics: xx, 202 p. :,ill. ;,20 cm.

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Cynthia_N Apr 01, 2014

I was disappointed in this book. I expected lots of details of the funeral/embalming process but it was more details about his life and the people in it.

JCLKimG Mar 31, 2014

Thomas Lynch puts the fun in funeral in this humorous account of life as a funeral director. His story is the basis of the hit HBO series Six Feet Under. If you love this, be sure to check out Mary Roach's Stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers and Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death.

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