The Undertaking Life Studies from the Dismal Trade

Author: Thomas Lynch
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393073409
Release Date: 2010-03-01
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

A National Book Award Finalist: "One of the most life-affirming books I have read in a long time…brims with humanity, irreverence, and invigorating candor." —Tom Vanderbilt, The Nation "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.

The Undertaking

Author: Thomas Lynch
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393041123
Release Date: 1997
Genre: Social Science

The poet and funeral director offers his observations on life, death, and the rituals of society

The Undertaking

Author: Thomas Lynch
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781446484968
Release Date: 2011-06-30
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Like all poets, inspired by death, Lynch is, unlike others, also hired to bury the dead or 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 ears tuned to the indispensable vernaculars of love and grief. In these twelve essays is the voice of both witness and functionary. Lynch stands between 'the living and the living who have dies' with the same outrage and amazement, straining for the same glimpse we all get of what mortality means to a vital species. 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 essays of rare elegance and grace, full of fierce compassion and rich in humour and humanity - lessons taught to the living by the dead.

Bodies in Motion and at Rest

Author: Thomas Lynch
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393321649
Release Date: 2001-06-01
Genre: Literary Collections

A Michigan poet, funeral director, and American Book Award-winning author of The Undertaking continues his quirky observations on the relations between the literary and mortuary arts, in a collection of illuminating essays and observations on life, death, and creative expression. Reprint.

Still Life In Milford

Author: Thomas Lynch
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781446483916
Release Date: 2011-06-30
Genre: Literary Criticism

In Still Life in Milford, Lynch casts the cold eye we are told to on life and death, history and memory, the local and the larger geographics. Examining the dynamics of faith, remembrance, and intimate conduct, these poems are informed by end times, tribulations and visions that make up the ordinary enterprise of daily life. Colloquy and narrative, soliloquy and tribute, Still Life in Milford engages the full register of the poet's voices as elegist, eulogist, obituarist, straight man and passer-by to achieve a difficult and inimitable harmony.

American Afterlife

Author: Kate Sweeney
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
ISBN: 9780820346892
Release Date: 2014-03-15
Genre: Social Science

Someone dies. What happens next? One family inters their matriarch's ashes on the floor of the ocean. Another holds a memorial weenie roast each year at a greenburial cemetery. An 1898 ad for embalming fluid promises, “You can make mummies with it!” while a leading contemporary burial vault is touted as impervious to the elements. A grieving mother, 150 years ago, might spend her days tending a garden at her daughter's grave. Today, she might tend the roadside memorial she erected at the spot her daughter was killed. One mother wears a locket containing her daughter's hair; the other, a necklace containing her ashes. What happens after someone dies depends on our personal stories and on where those stories fall in a larger tale—that of death in America. It's a powerful tale that we usually keep hidden from our everyday lives until we have to face it. American Afterlife by Kate Sweeney reveals this world through a collective portrait of Americans past and present who find themselves personally involved with death: a klatch of obit writers in the desert, a funeral voyage on the Atlantic, a fourth-generation funeral director—even a midwestern museum that takes us back in time to meet our deathobsessed Victorian progenitors. Each story illuminates details in another until something larger is revealed: a landscape that feels at once strange and familiar, one that's by turns odd, tragic, poignant, and sometimes even funny.

Walking Papers

Author: Thomas Lynch
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781446483923
Release Date: 2011-06-30
Genre: Literary Criticism

If life is pilgrimage, Walking Papers are the pages - the notes on the journey, news of the world, letters of introduction and dismissal - found in one's breast-pocket amongst one's effects. And Thomas Lynch, the celebrated poet-undertaker is our guide through a world that's painfully aware of its own mortality; as he says in the powerfully moving title poem: 'Listen - /something's going to get you in the end./The numbers are fairly convincing on this,/hovering, as they do, around a hundred/percent. We die. And more's the pity.' In this, his fourth collection of poems - his first in the new century - Lynch attends to the flora and fauna and fellow pilgrims: dead poets and living masters, a former president and his factotums, a sin-eater and inseminator. Faux-bardic and mock-epic, deft at lament and lampoon, accusation and dispensation, fete and feint, Lynch's poems are powerful medicines, tonics for the long haul and home-going.

The Good Funeral

Author: Thomas G. Long
Publisher: Presbyterian Publishing Corp
ISBN: 9781611643213
Release Date: 2013-09-06
Genre: Religion

Two of the most authoritative voices on the funeral industry come together here in one volume to discuss the current state of the funeral. Through their different lenses--one as a preacher and one as a funeral director--Thomas G. Long and Thomas Lynch alternately discuss several challenges facing "the good funeral," including the commercial aspects that have led many to be suspicious of funeral directors, the sometimes tense relationship between pastors and funeral directors, the tendency of modern funerals to exclude the body from the service, and the rapid growth in cremation. The book features forewords from Patrick Lynch, President of the National Funeral Directors Association, and Barbara Brown Taylor, highly praised author and preacher. It is an essential resource for funeral directors, morticians, and pastors, and anyone else interested in current funeral practices.

Grimalkin And Other Poems

Author: Thomas Lynch
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781446484418
Release Date: 2011-06-30
Genre: Literary Criticism

The poems in Grimalkin - Thomas Lynch's first publication in Britain are all concerned, in one way or another, with achieving a balance in the face of gravity. In each poem, Lynch is looking for this equilibrium between equal and opposing forces: the gravities of sex and death, love and grief - all the things that make us breathless and horizontal, mortal and memorable. By means of a wry, mordant wit, telling observation and glorious poise, we are shown the strong tensions that make us human: the forces in our nature that create, replicate, restore, renew us; and those that kill us, constrict our lives, silence us. From spirited invective to meditations on morality, from lyrics of love and desire to a corrosive flyting to his ex-wife, these poems explore an extraordinary emotional range and technical facility but, more importantly, they reveal a compassionate, wise, and genial humanity.

The Undertaking

Author: Audrey Magee
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 9780802192615
Release Date: 2014-09-02
Genre: Fiction

From a remarkable new talent in Irish fiction comes a terrifyingly intimate story of a war marriage caught up in the calamity of World War II, a much anticipated debut which has garnered prepublication praise from Colm Toibin, Hugo Hamilton, A.D. Miller, and Chris Cleave. In a desperate bid to escape the trenches of the Eastern front, Peter Faber, an ordinary German soldier, marries Katharina Spinell, a woman he has never met, in a marriage of convenience that promises ‘honeymoon’ leave for him and a pension for her should he die in the war. With ten days’ leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin and both are surprised by the passion that develops between them. When Peter returns to the horror of the front, it is only the dream of Katharina that sustains him as he approaches Stalingrad. Back in Berlin, Katharina, goaded on by her desperate and delusional parents, ruthlessly works her way into Nazi high society, wedding herself, her young husband, and her unborn child to the regime. But when the tide of war turns and Berlin falls, Peter and Katharina find their simple dream of family cast in tragic light and increasingly hard to hold on to. Reminiscent of Bernard Schlink’s The Reader, this is an unforgettable novel of marriage, ambition, and the brutality of war, which heralds the arrival of a breathtaking new voice in international fiction.

Booking Passage

Author: Thomas Lynch
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781446483893
Release Date: 2011-06-30
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

In February of 1970, Thomas Lynch, aged twenty-one, bought a one-way ticket to Ireland. He landed in the townland of Moveen, at the edge of the ocean in West Clare, outside the thatched cottage that his great-grandfather had left late in the nineteenth century with a one-way ticket to America. Tommy and Nora Lynch, Thomas Lynch's elderly, unmarried, distant cousins welcomed the young American 'home'. In the words of the author, 'it changed my life'. Booking Passage is part travelogue, part cultural study, part memoir and elegy, part guidebook for what Lynch calls 'fellow pilgrims' working their way through their own and the larger histories. It is a magnificent hymn of praise to Ireland.

A Decade of Hope

Author: Dennis Smith
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101543511
Release Date: 2011-08-23
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, a portrait of tragedy, survival, and healing from the author of The New York Times bestseller Report from Ground Zero. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, an occasion that is sure to be observed around the world. But among the memorials, political speeches, and news editorials, the most pressing consideration- and often the most overlooked-is the lives and well-being of the 9/11 first responders, their families, and the victims' families over the past decade. Dennis Smith, a former firefighter and the author of the bestselling Report from Ground Zero, addresses this important topic in a series of interviews with the heroes and families of those most affected by the tragedy either through feats of bravery in the rescue efforts or heroic bearing up in the face of unimaginable loss. Smith provides an intimate look at a terrible moment in history and its challenging and difficult aftermath, allowing these survivors to share their stories of loss, endurance, and resilience in their own words. A Decade of Hope is an honest and vitally important look at a decade in the lives of those for whom a national tragedy was a devastatingly personal ordeal.

The Final Bath

Author: Amber Lenore Winckler
Publisher:
ISBN: 0984273603
Release Date: 2009-10-01
Genre: Fiction

The Final Bath is a story of those who chose to orchestrate by hand the last rite of passage for the rest of us...the last hands to touch us. Young optimistic Louise is a recent graduate of Mortuary Science who begins her journey into a required two-year Embalmer's Apprenticeship. Confident in her education in caring for the dead, Louise struggles to understand, life, love, tragedy, and the common bond that attracts workers to the profession. Unaware at first that the start of her professional life will also coincide with her path toward a spiritual awakening, Louise begins to understand the incredible cycle of life that ends with The Final Bath.

The Child s Song

Author: Donald Capps
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN: 066425554X
Release Date: 1995-01-01
Genre: Religion

Theological ideas and biblical injunctions have frequently been employed to legitimate the physical abuse of children. Some theological ideas are inherently abusive because they create fear in a child's mind, causing a child to feel alone, odd, and of little worth. Donald Capps exposes the abuses that theology and the Bible have inflicted on vast numbers of children. In particular, he is concerned with the "hidden" abuses of children by well-intentioned adults and the role that religion plays in the legitimation of these abuses.

The Truth About Death

Author: Robert Hellenga
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 9781632862921
Release Date: 2016-04-05
Genre: Fiction

The Truth About Death," the title novella of this virtuosic collection, is a masterpiece of sardonic humor that confronts Death head on and emerges bloody but unbowed. Simon, an undertaker, embalms his own father and faces his own death. Louisa, Simon's mother, makes peace with her husband over his dead body in a cooler in the basement of the funeral home. Simon contemplates the mystery of death over a plate of spaghetti cacio e pepe in Rome with an Italian undertaker. The dog, Maya--who works as a greeter at the funeral home where she comforts those who are grieving hardest--eventually makes the truth about death known to Elizabeth, Simon's wife. New Yorker cartoons keep the family laughing during the most difficult months, Elizabeth decides to show her own cartoons (included here), to the New Yorker cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, at his office in New York. The serious issues cleverly addressed in The Truth About Death are touched with warmth, humor, and deep feeling in the eight "Other Stories," not by invoking comforting fairy tales but by accepting the fact that death and grief are part of the natural order of things. As Maya explains to Elizabeth, "It's just the way things are.