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From Here to Eternity: Travelling the World to Find the Good Death

Caitlin Doughty

3 Reviews

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Memoirs, Sociology: death & dying, Travel writing

An eye-opening, entertaining and thought-provoking account of a mortician's journey around the world to discover how other cultures care for their dead

As a practicing mortician, Caitlin Doughty has long been fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies. In this new book she sets out in search of cultures unburdened by such fears, exploring Indonesian burial caves and meeting a Bolivian natita (a cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skull). With curiosity and morbid humour, Doughty encounters vividly decomposed corpses, participates in diverse death practices, and uncovers historical and national oddities. Appraising 'dignified' Western funerary traditions (in which we pump bodies full of chemicals or burn them in giant ovens), she marvels as people create new spaces for mourning - including a futuristic glowing-Buddha columbarium in Japan, a candlelit Mexican cemetery, and America's only open-air pyre in Colorado. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY tells a story that expands our sense of what's 'normal' and explores how unexpected moments of comfort and healing can be gained through directly tending to our deceased.

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Praise for From Here to Eternity: Travelling the World to Find the Good Death

  • A hilarious, poignant and impassioned plea to revolutionise our attitudes to death - Guardian on Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

  • Zingy, fresh and important . . . This book might change your life - Evening Standard on Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

  • Upbeat, brave and brilliantly, morbidly curious . . . Important and timely - The Sunday Times on Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

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Caitlin Doughty

Caitlin Doughty was born and raised in Hawaii before gaining a degree in Medieval History from the University of Chicago. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she owns an alternative funeral home, Undertaking LA. She is the creator of the 'Ask a Mortician' web series, the founder of the death acceptance collective The Order of the Good Death and co-founder of Death Salon. She is the author of two NEW YORK TIMES bestsellers - SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY.