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Publisher's Summary

Die Wise does not offer seven steps for coping with death. It does not suggest ways to make dying easier. It pours no honey to make the medicine go down. Instead, with lyrical prose, deep wisdom, and stories from his two decades of working with dying people and their families, Stephen Jenkinson places death at the center of the discussion and asks us to behold it in all its painful beauty. Die Wise teaches the skills of dying, skills that have to be learned in the course of living deeply and well. Die Wise is for those who will fail to live forever.

Dying well, Jenkinson writes, is a right and responsibility of everyone. It is not a lifestyle option. It is a moral, political, and spiritual obligation all people owe their ancestors and their heirs. Die Wise dreams such a dream and plots such an uprising. How we die, how we care for dying people, and how we carry our dead: This work makes our capacity for a village-mindedness - or breaks it.

©2016 Stephen Jenkinson (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Stephen Jenkinson's elegant and sorrow-freighted book brings prophetic insight rather than pastoral affirmations. A true story-man, Jenkinson paints image after image on the cave wall of his parchment. Die Wise is a formidable body of work, road-tested in ways most of us hope never to know about." (Dr. Martin Shaw, author of Snowy Tower: Parzival and the Wet, Black Branch of Language)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Kate
  • Kenwood, CA, United States
  • 12-22-16

Wonderful book!

I feel that this book should be listened to rather than read. It is read by the author who is a gifted storyteller.

I purchased the book out of curiosity and not expecting much from it because I love to listen to fiction and most of my non-fiction reading is more along the lines of essay.

As soon as I started listening to this book, I was entranced and mesmerized. I could not stop listening. I am now almost finished and as soon as I am I will begin again as I want to glean every bit of knowledge, wisdom and wonder from it as I can.

It may seem that this might be a scary or disturbing book as it is concerned with what is considered a very dark and dismal aspect of life which we all take great pains to avoid until we have no other choice. However, I found, curiously, that it calmed me down immensely and I love listening to it. I cannot explain why except to say that it brought me home to myself.

I am no great writer or communicator which is why I rarely write reviews but in this case I really want to encourage everyone to listen to it as it will possibly help to bring us all home.

... do listen to this long story that slowly unwinds the truths of our species. I think you won't regret it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great listen

Any additional comments?

Its a great book to listen. I didn't rush and even repeated some chapters in order to properly soak in what the author was saying. I challenge you to exercise patience and listen to the whole book without rushing. :)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A deep and necessary experience.

This book is quiet and momentous, challenging and nurturing. It is for everyone who seeks to see our culture more clearly, and who seeks another way of being within that culture.
The book deserves to be listened to meditatively, in the same manner in which it was written. There are no quick or easy lessons within, but if patience is applied, there are rich benefits of perspective and wisdom and solemnity. Don't fail to listen thoroughly, all the way to the end.
I am thankful to have listened to "Die Wise" on audio book. While I am certain that reading it on paper would have been worthwhile, Stephen Jenkinson's reading of his own words feels like a privilege.
This truly is a deep, necessary, and uncommon gift.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Superb narration by the author himself

We saw the Canadian documentary about the author soon after it came out. Titled "Griefwalker" it paved the way for our willingness to listen patiently, expectantly throughout this long audiobook. The storytelling is Jenkinson at his best -- and one also thereby learns how he became who he is. Only one other book narrated by its author has impressed us so much. Truly, like sitting around a campfire or a fireplace, enjoying the calm, slow, imagistic way of deftly unravelling our ingrained western antipathy toward death and welcoming another view -- one that our ancestors (perhaps long, long ago) would have known as natural as the the passing of the seasons. We loved this book! And we have listened to the last 4 or 5 hours multiple times, especially the last two -- where all the ideas lurking within the previous stories and passages come clear. Bravo!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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powerful, potent, and timely wisdom.

challenging, wise, potent, and timely. this message and the teachings within will, if you let them, Rock you to the core. I'm glad to have found this and to have had my paradigm utterly shifted as a result.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Owain Greville
  • 11-04-17

amazing. best book of 2017 so far..

loved it .hit the spot for me.get this awesome book. it's well worth reading ..

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  • J. Bonnet
  • 10-05-17

A timeless treasure chest of wisdom

Stephens' writing (and narration) is touching and thought provoking. I've listened to it about 9 times through now, and Jenkinson's wisdom is such that each listen I remain rapt. There aren't many people who talk about suffering, and the difficulties of life, as he can.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-03-17

Deep Wisdom

Beautifully narrated by the author, giving the message in this book the clarity it deserves. A must read for everyone who is or who will die and anyone who attends the dying.
This is a thought provoking and challenging book. I will listen and read it again.

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  • Matt
  • 03-21-17

Sanity for the soul

This book was as an insightful guide for me while supporting my dying mother.

More than an honest and confronting guide for dealing with death, it also was surprisingly a guide to a better way of living.

A poetic insight into our culture and beliefs around dying and living, Stephen's words haunted me with the ring of truth.

Guiding the reader through true gritty and solemn stories from his own experiences with death having worked in palliative care for 35 years, Stephen delivers wisdom that spares the reader the positive spin and self help feel good jargon we have come to expect.

Along the way he also addresses and distinguishes some historical myths our culture has around living and dying, that we have unwittingly inherited.

Die Wise is a sobering and somber read that I very much enjoyed and left me wondering again child like about life and death.