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

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From the graveside of an Irish Republican Army execution victim, whose young son cries inconsolably at his loss, to that of the author’s own father, Toolis provides a series of intimate, eye-opening visits with the end-of-life process.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Death is a whisper in the Anglo-Saxon world. But on a remote island off the coast of Ireland's County Mayo, it has a louder voice. Along with reports of incoming Atlantic storms, the local radio runs a daily roll of ordinary deaths. And the islanders go in great numbers, often with young children, to be with their dead. They keep the corpse and the bereaved company through the long hours of the night. They dig the grave with their own hands. It is a communal triumph in overcoming the death of the individual.

In this beautifully written narrative, Kevin Toolis gives an intimate, eyewitness account of the death and wake of his father as he explores the wider history and significance of the Irish wake. With an uplifting, positive message at its heart, My Father's Wake celebrates the spiritual depth of the Irish wake and asks if we can find in it a better way to deal with our mortality--by living and loving as the Irish do.
 

About Kevin Toolis

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Published February 27, 2018 by Da Capo Press.
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for My Father's Wake
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Dec 05 2017

From the graveside of an Irish Republican Army execution victim, whose young son cries inconsolably at his loss, to that of the author’s own father, Toolis provides a series of intimate, eye-opening visits with the end-of-life process.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Ann Neumann on Mar 16 2018

I can’t help wishing that Toolis had kept the beautiful memoir of his life-and-death experiences and thrown the self-help curriculum over the city walls to be devoured by beasts. There really is no greater truth than a corpse.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Sean O'Hagan on Aug 29 2017

These more intensely personal encounters with death and the tidal pull of capsizing grief are the moments that resonated most with me, not least because they bring home the state of utter incredulity – and unpreparedness – that a death unleashes in those close to the deceased.

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