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About the book
  • Published: 30 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446484968
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

The Undertaking

Life Studies from the Dismal Trade




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.

  • Pub date: 30 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446484968
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

About the Author

Thomas Lynch

Thomas Lynch is the award winning author of three collections of poems and three books of nonfiction, including The Undertaking - Life Studies from the Dismal Trade. His work has appeared in the Atlantic and New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, and Paris Review. His commentaries have appeared in the New York Times, the Irish Times and The Times and are regularly broadcast on the BBC, RTE and NPR. He lives in Milford, Michigan, and Moveen, West Clare.

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Praise for The Undertaking

“these craggy "life studies," forged during his years in the "dismal trade," are always forceful, authentic and full of a kind of ethical and esthetic clarity.”

Richard Bernstein, New York Times


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