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8 Reviews
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the living and all the dead
A profoundly moving book about one's own mortality. Read about and weep over the child, Lynch's father's demise, the first chapter. Laugh at people's antics in and around death. Lynch captures the practicalities of death with a humane eye and illuminates them for us with a gentle wisdom. There is no reaching for the point or over-stretching of thoughts. It's spare and...
Published on 7 May 2000

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curious undertaking
Life Studies from the Dismal Trade is the subtitle of this book which I bought second hand through Amazon because of a review I recently read. I too have a professional interest in last rites and funerals.

Whilst the texts on the cover promise all kind of things, I found the book a little hard to get into and not stimulating. Just curious.
Published on 11 Oct. 2012 by Dirk van Leeuwen


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the living and all the dead, 7 May 2000
By A Customer
A profoundly moving book about one's own mortality. Read about and weep over the child, Lynch's father's demise, the first chapter. Laugh at people's antics in and around death. Lynch captures the practicalities of death with a humane eye and illuminates them for us with a gentle wisdom. There is no reaching for the point or over-stretching of thoughts. It's spare and simple. A credit to its author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get a Life, 14 Aug. 2009
By 
N. J. H. Ratnieks "Snackers" (West Clandon, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is a book about life- from the standpoint of being close to death- a funeral director from a family firm. I bought this book after chapter 1 was printed in the Telegraph. Lynch is a man of great humanity with a great sense of humour and wonderful insight and his own demons that he has conquered. If you want a book that makes you feel vibrant about life, then this is the one. It's not about the dark secrets of the business and it's not morbid- it's life affirming. Lynch makes the point that what was public 100 years ago- DEATH is now taboo- and what was private back then- BIRTH is now public- often filmed for posterity. He takes Dr Death-Dr Kevorkian to task and makes pertinent points about euthanasia as well. I recommend this book as a great read for those with a little depth- although my friends tend to think I must be nuts and don't seem to want to "go there". Well, we're all headed that way as Lee Hazlewood wrote "Sooner or later we all make the little flowers grow" and quite rightly so. Just live a bit more intensely in the meantime and this book can help you do just that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing dismal here- just wisdom, compassion and wit, 28 Jan. 2013
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An extraordinary book, to put it mildly. I reckon the insights are hard-earned, and long matured. I could write about his style, but "style" can suggest something ornamental or separate from what he has to say. Surely the point about his poignant-written thoughts and observations, and his witty, beautifully judged comic passages is that they simply sound like the man himself, they have a well-wrought authenticity about them, they way hey are written is the whole point of them. Wordy,, one reviewer says. Well, only in the best sense.

I'm a funeral celebrant, and I find his insights to be hugely resonant and helpful, his compassion and honesty exemplary- and he's bloody funny too! I just hope a lot of people read this book who are nothing to do with the end of life, with death and funerals- because as a reviewer says, this is a book about life, and how to live it better by thinking and feeling your way a little more closely towards death- just for a quick sneak, before rushing back to the telly, the saloon bar, the garden....

This book deserves to be a classic. He's a really fine writer in one of the best U.S. traditions, the down-to-earth voice from a frontier of some sort, unruffled but deeply moved.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant meditations on life and death, 24 Nov. 2014
By 
Victoria Craven (Wilmington, NC United States) - See all my reviews
A collection of essays from poet and undertaker Lynch concerning life and death and the ways people handle the latter. Lynch has a gift with language—it’s obvious he’s a poet—and though I disagree with some of his later thoughts on abortion and the death penalty (I’m logical in his book since I believe in both) I cannot fault his logic. His descriptions of life in a small town, as well as life in a village in Ireland, are delicately done. The last book that rendered so well human relationships was Kathleen Finneran’s The Tender Land.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Peep behind the scenes, 19 Jan. 2014
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An interesting look at life and death from an Undertaker's point of view. Very well written and thought-provoking. Amusing yet serious. Well worth the read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 20 Mar. 2015
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Thought-provoking and humerous at the same time
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curious undertaking, 11 Oct. 2012
By 
Dirk van Leeuwen "dlw" (Antwerp, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade (Hardcover)
Life Studies from the Dismal Trade is the subtitle of this book which I bought second hand through Amazon because of a review I recently read. I too have a professional interest in last rites and funerals.

Whilst the texts on the cover promise all kind of things, I found the book a little hard to get into and not stimulating. Just curious.
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4 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars To wordy and over-rated, 11 April 2001
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I found this book to be uninteresting and wordy - the same thing was said over and over again. His use of langage was lovely but the nicest part of the book was a poem written to comemorate the ope ing of a bridge in one of the narratives.
I got the feeling he didnt have to much to say about death and the business of undertaking - quite rightly stating - again and again - that the dead don't care. Ok, got the message - but a whole book? I feel he traded on his reputation as a poet to write this book but it wasnt a book that he should have written - nothing to satisfy one's morbid curiousity either! Don't bother reading this.
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The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade
The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch (Hardcover - 27 Mar. 1997)
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