The Depositions Fall 2019

The Depositions

W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (November 26, 2019)

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Released on November 26, 2019

New and selected essays on being and ceasing to be.

For nearly four decades, poet, essayist, and small-town funeral director Thomas Lynch has probed relations between the literary and mortuary arts. His life’s work with the dead and the bereaved has informed four previous collections of nonfiction, each exploring identity and humanity with Lynch’s signature blend of memoir, meditation, gallows humor, and poetic precision.

The Depositions provides an essential selection from these masterful collections―essays on fatherhood, Irish heritage, funeral rites, and the perils of bodiless obsequies―as well as new essays in which the space between Lynch’s hyphenated identities―as an Irish American, undertaker-poet―is narrowed by the deaths of poets, the funerals of friends, the loss of neighbors, intimate estrangements, and the slow demise of a beloved dog.

As Alan Ball writes in a penetrating foreword, Lynch’s work allows us “to see both the absurdity and the beauty of death, sometimes simultaneously.” With this landmark collection, he continues to illuminate not only how we die, but also how we live.


Scott Simon, New York Times

A lot of writers put life and death into their work. But for almost four decades, Thomas Lynch has examined what Auden called the “unmentionable odor of death,” those details...