‘Fascinating… life affirming’ Times Literary Supplement
‘Without exaggeration, an awe-inspiring achievement’ Nigella Lawson
Chosen as an Irish Times Book of the Year
In this profoundly moving and remarkable book, journalist Hayley Campbell explores society’s attitudes towards death, and the impact on those who work with it every day. ‘If the reason we’re outsourcing this burden is because it’s too much for us,’ she asks, ‘how do they deal with it?’ Would facing death directly make us fear it less?
Inspired by her own childhood fascination with the subject, she meets embalmers and a former death row executioner, mass fatality investigators and a bereavement midwife. She talks to gravediggers who have already dug their own graves and questions a man whose job it is to make crime scenes disappear. Through Campbell’s incisive and candid interviews with people who see death every day, she asks: Does seeing death change you as a person? And are we all missing something vital by letting death remain hidden?
‘Moving, funny, and liable to unexpectedly cause me to tear up’ Neil Gaiman
‘Essential, compassionate, honest’ Audrey Niffenegger