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The Undertaking Life Studies from the Dismal Trade (Hardcover)

Author:  Thomas Lynch
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Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0393041123
ISBN-13: 9780393041125
Sku: 30057232
Publish Date: 4/10/2007
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8.5H x 5.5L x 0.75T
Pages:  224
See more in Death & Dying
Like all poets inspired by death, Lynch is, unlike others, also hired to bury the dead or to cremate them in a small Michigan town where he serves as funeral director. In this book, Lynch names the hurts and shapes the questions posed by the familiar mystery known as death.
From the Publisher:
The poet and funeral director offers his observations on life, death, and the rituals of society
A poet and undertaker in the small town of Milford, Michigan, Thomas Lynch writes about what he calls the "dismal trade."


Kirkus Reviews
"Eloquent, meditative observations on the place of death in small-town life....[T]his thoughtful volume is neither too sentimental nor too clinical about death's role (and the author's) in our lives." 05/01/1997

Times Literary Supplement
"[A] stunningly original book (part memoir, part meditation, part professional tract)....[H]e can be achingly funny when his rueful irony gives way to unbridled hilarity....The frequent outbursts of satirical wit in 'The Undertaking' are not so much a whistling past the graveyard as evidence of a deep morality at the heart of Thomas Lynch's vision of life....[A] frank, perceptive and eloquent book in which the writing is capable of nimble flights from platitude to proverb to profundity....His mid-life, mid-Western perspective provides a surprisingly wide-angled vista on our age and, in the process, reveals as much about our mores as our mourning." - Dennis O'Driscoll 05/02/1997

"[H]is clear wide eyes take a much less bleak view of the world than might at first then be supposed....'The Undertaking' is most beautifully written, strongly but delicately cadenced, without a word over." - Hilary Corke 05/03/1997

Bloomsbury Review
" a poet who brings considerable skills of voice and tone to a series of interrelated essays on his work....His thoughts on the living and those who have lived are presented with a slightly amused empathy for the human condition and general outrage at how modern improvements often separate us from this remembered earth." - Reamy Jansen May 1997

"We might imagine undertakers to resemble their product--cold, reserved, and gravely dignified--but 'The Undertaking' brims with humanity, irreverence and invigorating candor....For Lynch, every day is a matter of life and death, to be greeted with the tradesman's workaday pragmatism and the poet's capacity for transcendence, and it does not seem strange at all for me to say that this undertaker's memoir, rife with death, is one of the most life-affirming books I have read in a long time." - Tom Vanderbilt 06/09/1997

"Lynch, an undertaker and a poet, suggests in the quietly persuasive essays that make up this collection that our fear and mistrust of undertakers is less a rational response to a creepy profession than the result of our own messy and conflicted feelings about death itself....Lynch avoids the somber sanctimony that too often afflicts writing about matters of life and death. He writes with a dark and some might say morbid humor....he has written a brave and eloquent--and even entertaining--book on the most unsettling of subjects." - David Futrelle 06/27/1997

New York Times Book Review
"The essays that make up 'The Undertaking' cover subjects ranging form divorce to the details of embalming. At his best, Lynch shows himself to be a master of the essay form....At his worst, Lynch sounds like a publicist for the mortuary business." - Susan Jacoby 08/17/1997

New Yorker
"[A] remarkable anatomy of the undertaker's trade." 08/18/1997

Lingua Franca
"...Lynch is at home with both the nostalgic and the ironic, the elegiac and the absurd." - Stephen Prothero April 2001

Product Attributes

Product attributeeBooks:   Kobo
Product attributeBook Format:   Hardcover
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0224
Product attributePublisher:   W. W. Norton & Company
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