The Undertaking

The Undertaking

Life Studies From the Dismal Trade

Book - 1998
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"Every year I bury a couple hundred of my townspeople." So opens this singular 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 this unique collection of essays, the two vocations meet as Lynch shows himself to be a competent functionary of mourning--dispensing comfort and homespun wisdom to the grief-stricken--as well as a poet poignantly tuning language to the right tones of private release. In its homages to parents who have died and to children who shouldn't have, its tales of golfers tripping over grave markers, portraits of gourmands and hypochondriacs, lovers and suicides, The Undertaking displays a wide vocal range, from solemn, nostalgic and lyrical to acerbic, sprightly, and unflinchingly professional.--From publisher description.
A National Book Award finalist, this collection of unique essays "brims with humanity, irreverence, and invigorating candor" ("The Nation").
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 1998, c1997
ISBN: 9780140276237
0140276238
Branch Call Number: 814.54 LYNCH
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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