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My Father's Wake: How the Irish Teach Us to Live, Love and Die - Softcover

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9781474605243: My Father's Wake: How the Irish Teach Us to Live, Love and Die
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Death is a whisper in the Anglo-Saxon world. But on a remote island, off the coast of County Mayo, it has a louder voice. The local radio station runs a thrice-daily roll-call of the recently departed. The islanders keep vigil with the corpse and share in the sorrow of the bereaved. The living and the dead are bound together in the oldest rite of humanity. In My Father's Wake, Kevin Toolis gives an intimate, eye-witness account of the death and wake of his father, celebrating the spiritual depth of the Irish Wake and asking if we too can find a better way to deal with our mortality, by living and loving in the acceptance of death.

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Review:
As a boy, he learned to kiss the corpse at a traditional island wake. As a film-maker and witness to death in many conflict zones around the world, Kevin Toolis has written a profound book on the culture of grief and death, placing the personal alongside the political in a vivid exploration of our ancient ways of coming together around the dead. This is a moving family story, a memoir of loss and exile, a deep understanding of what makes us alive, casting a cold eye on what is precious and so often denied (HUGO HAMILTON)

The 'Western Death Machine' has hidden the dead and dying, but in a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, an almost Homeric society clings to the old ways. The dying are treasured and tenderly watched over, the dead are honoured with the ancient rites and rituals. Contemporary western ideas about death are dominated by individualism; My Father's Wake is a lyrical description of how community and tradition help us deal with our mortality (SEAMUS O’MAHONY, author of The Way We Die Now)

A broadside against collective [death] denial. In its alternating shifts of focus, from the intimately personal to the more journalistically detached, it lays bare the desperate numbness that accompanies that denial (SEAN O'HAGAN Observer)

Powerful and immensely moving (Ian Critchley SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE)

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 bestsellers Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and From Here to Eternity)

An enlightening and unflinching dispatch from the frontline, an embedded report by an eyewitness who tries to face death squarely without recourse to mysticism, sentimentality or delusion (Liam Fay SUNDAY TIMES IRELAND)

A heart-warming and very personal account of a life well-lived (Mary Russell IRISH TIMES)

Toolis writes superbly ... it's as a memoir that this engrossing book works best (Anthony Gardner MAIL ON SUNDAY)

A gut-wrenching exploration of death from an Irish perspective ... A fascinating view of what most of us try not to consider: the end of life ... This book is not for the faint of heart, as the experiences [Toolis] shares will leave readers emotionally raw. It is unquestionably rewarding, however, a thought-provoking argument against a sterile and industrial view of death ... Intimate, eye-opening (KIRKUS (starred review))

Visceral and profound (NEW YORK TIMES)
Book Description:
An intimate, lyrical memoir exploring the ancient rite of the Irish wake, and the Irish way of overcoming our fear of death - BEING MORTAL meets THE LAST ACT OF LOVE

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  • PublisherW&N
  • Publication date2018
  • ISBN 10 1474605249
  • ISBN 13 9781474605243
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages288
  • Rating
    3.88 avg rating
    ( 465 ratings by Goodreads )

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9781474605236: My Father's Wake: How the Irish Teach Us to Live, Love and Die: Kevin Toolis

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