As a practising mortician, Caitlin Doughty has long been fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies. In From Here to Eternity
she sets out in search of cultures unburdened by such fears. In rural Indonesia, she observes a man clean and dress his grandfather's mummified body. She meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and discovers the Japanese ritual of kotsuage, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones' bones from cremation ashes.
With curiosity and morbid humour, Doughty introduces us to inspiring death-care innovators, participates in powerful death practices almost entirely unknown in the West and explores new spaces for mourning - including a futuristic glowing-Buddha columbarium in Japan, a candlelit Mexican cemetery, and America's only open-air pyre. In doing so she expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with 'dignity' and reveals unexpected possibilities for our own death rituals. Caitlin Doughty, American mortician, joyful member of the death-positive movement, describes what happens to our mortal remains with relish . . . Jaunty, boisterous and unsentimental, Doughty believes that we in the west have made death and its aftermath into a corporate, perfunctory affair, in which the meaning of an ending is denied. Her mission is to 'reclaim public understanding of dying' and to bring individuality and joy back into our dealings with the dead -- Nicci Gerard * OBSERVER * [Doughty's] fascinating tour of rituals contains liturgies that readers will surely observe as rare, macabre, unbelievable, ancient, and precious - sometimes simultaneously * KIRKUS * Far from morbid, but moving * WOMAN'S WAY * Written with great humour and respect, this book will undoubtedly educate, entertain, and leave you dying to learn more * GEOGRAPHICAL * Moving and inspiring * BELFAST TELEGRAPH * A study in cultures, places and profound moments - and with a necessary slice of morbid humour too * WANDERLUST * In her jocular but reverential tone . . . Doughty doesn't offer a simple morbid travelogue; instead, she digs into diverse death experiences with deep veneration and examines ties to socioeconomic, status, female identity and religion * BOOKLIST * From Indonesia to Mexico and all points in between, Doughty talks to a wide array of professionals, handling the topic with curiosity, frankness and no small amount of humour -- Doug Johnstone * THE BIG ISSUE * Doughty finds the humanity in other cultures' relationship with death that seems to be lacking in ours
From Here to Eternity