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From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

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From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death cover

A New York Times and Los Angeles Times Bestseller

The best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with "dignity."

Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Here to Eternity is an immersive global journey that introduces compelling, powerful rituals almost entirely unknown in America.

In rural Indonesia, she watches a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body, which has resided in the family home for two years. In La Paz, she meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and in Tokyo she encounters the Japanese kotsuage ceremony, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones’ bones from cremation ashes.

With boundless curiosity and gallows humor, Doughty vividly describes decomposed bodies and investigates the world’s funerary history. She introduces deathcare innovators researching body composting and green burial, and examines how varied traditions, from Mexico’s Días de los Muertos to Zoroastrian sky burial help us see our own death customs in a new light.

Doughty contends that the American funeral industry sells a particular—and, upon close inspection, peculiar—set of "respectful" rites: bodies are whisked to a mortuary, pumped full of chemicals, and entombed in concrete. She argues that our expensive, impersonal system fosters a corrosive fear of death that hinders our ability to cope and mourn. By comparing customs, she demonstrates that mourners everywhere respond best when they help care for the deceased, and have space to participate in the process.

Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a story about the many fascinating ways people everywhere have confronted the very human challenge of mortality.

Caitlin Doughty is a mortician and the New York Times best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, From Here to Eternity, and Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? She is the creator of the web series Ask a Mortician, and the founder of The Order of the Good Death. She lives in Los Angeles, California, where she owns a funeral home.

Landis Blair illustrated the prize-winning graphic novel The Hunting Accident and the New York Times bestseller From Here to Eternity, and has published illustrations in the New York Times, Chicago magazine, and Medium. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

by Caroline

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 3:00pm

Although death is not something we all want to think about while many are being forced to experience it on a larger scale, Caitlin Doughty’s work is extremely important at all times and especially now. She comes at the topic with a “death positive” lens; focusing on how we can shift our grief, and the way we care for our passed loved ones, in a positive direction for both ourselves and the planet. This book takes a broad, interconnected perspective on mourning practices around the world, but if you are looking for more of a straight memoir on the subject I also recommend the author’s first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

From Connection & Reflection: Advice for an Upended World

ISBN: 9780393249897

ISBN-10: 9780393249897

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Publication Date: 10/03/2017 - 12:00am

On Sale: 10/03/2017 - 12:00am

Pages: 272

Language: English

Categories

Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

Social Science / Death & Dying