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Publisher's Summary

Death is a whisper in the Anglo-Saxon world. But on a remote island off the coast of Ireland's County Mayo, it has a louder voice. Along with reports of incoming Atlantic storms, the local radio runs a daily roll of ordinary deaths. And the islanders go in great numbers, often with young children, to be with their dead. They keep the corpse and the bereaved company through the long hours of the night. They dig the grave with their own hands. It is a communal triumph in overcoming the death of the individual.

In this beautifully written narrative, Kevin Toolis gives an intimate, eyewitness account of the death and wake of his father as he explores the wider history and significance of the Irish wake. With an uplifting, positive message at its heart, My Father's Wake celebrates the spiritual depth of the Irish wake and asks if we can find in it a better way to deal with our mortality - by living and loving as the Irish do.

©2018 Kevin Toolis (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A heartwarming and very personal account of a life well-lived." (Irish Times)

"The windswept Irish island of My Father's Wake is one of the final remote outposts of true death engagement in the Western world. Toolis's book is both memoir and anthropology, and serves as a refreshing counterpoint to the industrialized, for-profit death industry we've come to wrongly believe is our only option." (Caitlin Doughty, author of the New York Times best sellers Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and From Here to Eternity)

"A long meditation on death, dying, and our attitudes to mortality - our own and others'.... Toolis posits an acceptance of the inevitable which, while it does not banish the pain of grief, invests it with a resignation and a grace that is, in essence, healing and somehow life-affirming." (The Guardian)

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