Curtains

Curtains

Adventures of An Undertaker-in-training

Book - 2010
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Random House, Inc.
If Bill Bryson were to join a Winnipeg funeral home as an apprentice, and if he searched for the meaning of life and death while he was at it, you'd have Curtains - enlightening, full of life in the midst of death, and very funny.

"There's a time, from when someone dies to when they magically pop up at the funeral or as a bag of ashes, that remains a black hole, invisible to civilians, and they're happy with that arrangement. My job covers that gap."


At forty-four Tom Jokinen began to seriously question the secular funeral rites that are taking over the industry: is this really the way we want to say our final goodbyes? The question had such a hard grip on his Finnish soul that he decided to quit his job in order to become an apprentice undertaker. Curtainsis about what he found, from the mundane to the macabre. Among the things he learned: in cremation, the heart and head are the last parts to burn; purple lipstick looks best on a dead man; funeral directors have been known to dance during the service - out of sight of funeral goers, of course, and with the utmost respect for the dead. For anyone who's secretly wondered why they paid $2000 for a 5-lb bag of dust - or questioned whether that dust was really the person they loved - Curtains lifts the veil on the funeral industry in the 21st century.

Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, 2010
ISBN: 9780307355690
9780307355683
Branch Call Number: 363.75092 JOK
Characteristics: 279 p. ;,24 cm.

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Cynthia_N Dec 16, 2014

I finished the book with more knowledge and enjoyed reading it.

b
bette108
Jul 08, 2012

A witty and informative look at the funeral parlour business, but also a touching and provocative thesis on our practices for the dead. Also, if you are a Winnipeger (past or present), a bit of nostalgia as well.

p
PamelaL
Feb 06, 2012

I'm working on a degree in Thanatology and this book was a romp and full of really pertinent detatil information about the current state of the funeral business, the changes that its facing and a personal look at the people who keep the trade. Sometimes gritty, sometimes tearful and always, an interesting fun read.

q22 Feb 02, 2012

If you don't have a good understanding of the funeral/internment process in Canada this gives one a very good understanding of it. It makes you think about how your own funeral should be arranged, And it does it in a lighthearted, entertaining, humourous manner that I think most people will enjoy.

t
twiggyshui
Sep 04, 2011

Interesting read not grime by any sense, more a look behind the curtain of death and how traditional undertakers are having to look into adapting new rituals and revenue schemes.

LisaGirl Jul 02, 2011

Interesting! I've never read anything on this topic before, and Tom Jokinen gave unique insight into the funeral industry. He also has a great sense of humour! Never did I think I'd be laughing out loud reading about death and the aftermath....but I did! I'd recommend this book....if you can stomach it (the author goes into great detail on embalming, cremation and the like).

q
Queen_Bee
Jul 02, 2010

An interesting examination of the funeral industry and our attitudes/fears/expectations around death. Definitely thought provoking - I have done some rethinking on how I want my own funeral arrangements to be handled. The book is not all serious - there are some amusing portions - and it is highly entertaining.

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Methinks
Feb 23, 2012

...there are three details on every headstone: the name , and two moment sin time, the date of birth and the date of death. But between those moments in time is a dash, and that, she tells u is the mos timportant part of the headstone.

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