The facts of life and death remain the same. We live and die, we love and grieve, we breed and disappear. And between these existential gravities, we search for meaning, save our memories, leave a record for those who will remember us.'So writes Thomas Lynch in Bodies in Motion and at Rest - the second collection of essays by the award-winning author of The Undertaking.As poet and funeral director, Lynch examines the relations between the literary and the mortuary arts - the connection between obsequies and prosodies; the effort to give voice to unspeakable things: great love, great heartbreak, great wonder, great pain; how icons, metaphors and ritualised speech are engaged in poems and in funerals.The essays assembled here explore a species at the intersection of millennia, beleaguered by choices and changes, encumbered by merger and acquisition, numbed by maths and technologies, in search of the meaning of Life and Time, our lives and times. In an age that seeks to define human experience in retail, high-tech or pop-psyche terms, these wise, exquisite essays explore the distance between birth and death, the condition of the human being and the state of ceasing to be.
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Praise for The Undertaking:
'Funny, elegant and unbearably sad... A dignified little masterpiece by a man who understands the business of life and death.'
Jessamy Calkin, GQ
'A funny and seriously moral book, full of small-town sagacity and universal wisdom. Anecdotal but also philosophical, pragmatic yet lyrical... It may come too late to help the dead, but the living should read it while they can.'
Blake Morrison, Literary Review
'Stunning... The Undertaking's unclassifiable combining of personal histories, pathology and hard-earned wisdom is mixed with a delicately illuminating poetic insight. It is both serious... and wryly humorous.'
Nicholas Wroe, Financial Times
'While you're still lucky enough to be alive, go out and buy this book.'
Laura Cumming, Guardian
'Tom Lynch's book achieves an extraordinary range of tones - sombre, blackly comedic, plain spoken, lamentory - all of them united by Lynch's good-humoured morbidity. He has written a personal and quirky kind of masterpiece.'
John LanchesterAbout the Author:
Thomas Lynch is the author of a previous collection of essays, The Undertaking, which was shortlisted for the 1997 National Book Award, and two collections of poetry: Grimalkin & Other Poems (1994) and Still Life in Milford (1998). He lives and works in Milford, Michigan, where he is the funeral director, and in West Clare where he keeps an ancestral cottage.
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