From Here to Eternity

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781474606530

Price: £8.99

ON SALE: 24th January 2019

Genre: Society & Social Sciences / Sociology & Anthropology

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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. 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.

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Moving and inspiring
From Here To Eternity is fascinating, thought-provoking and - who would have guessed? - sometimes funny. Put it on your bucket list
Neil Armstrong, MAIL ON SUNDAY
Caitlin Doughty, 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
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
Written with great humour and respect, this book will undoubtedly educate, entertain, and leave you dying to learn more
Each chapter covers a culture with a highly distinctive and apparently ghastly approach to their dearly departed . . . Think Bill Bryson doing an underworld special. This humane book gently provokes you to wonder: what exactly is your ideal funeral?
Doughty is fun, with an eye for the bizarre and the absurd. She hits the road in quest of cultures untroubled by the western taboos surrounding mortality
Robert McCrum, SPECTATOR
Far from morbid, but moving
Compelling . . . Doughty's writing will give you the giggles as well as send a chill down your spine
Doughty is a relentlessly curious and chipper tour guide to the underworld . . . a likable, witty companion. It is a difficult high-wire act: to make death interesting and funny enough that we'll drop our fears and read, without losing sight of the gravity of the topic. I couldn't help thinking that her dispatches from the dark side were doing us all a kindness
Really fascinating
Alice Waters, NEW YORK TIMES
From Here to Eternity is Doughty's tour of the death ways of other peoples, from Bolivia to Barcelona . . . [she] chronicles each of these practices with tenderheartedness, a technician's fascination, and an unsentimental respect for grief
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
A study in cultures, places and profound moments - and with a necessary slice of morbid humour too
Both sensitive and light, and thoroughly researched, written by an author who genuinely wanted to learn from, not fetishise, other customs
[Doughty's] fascinating tour of rituals contains liturgies that readers will surely observe as rare, macabre, unbelievable, ancient, and precious - sometimes simultaneously
Doughty's lively (and charmingly illustrated) cascade of anecdotes about how various cultures handle death spells out how contemporary Western fastidiousness about dead bodies is by no means universally shared. We are introduced to a variety of startling practices . . . and pervading the book is Doughty's ferocious critique of the industrialisation of death and burial that is standard in the United States and spreading rapidly elsewhere. Doughty invites us to look at and contemplate alternatives . . . we have choices beyond the conventional; we can think about how we want our dead bodies to be treated as part of a natural physical cycle
Rowan Williams, NEW STATESMAN
Doughty finds the humanity in other cultures' relationship with death that seems to be lacking in ours