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The Last Good Funeral of the Year: A Memoir

Ed O'Loughlin

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Memoirs, Sociology: death & dying, Coping with illness & specific conditions

A pensive and poignant recollection of love, loss, marriage, mental health and the life events that have shaped his identity.

A Sunday Times Bestseller March 2022 (Ireland)

Soon, the lockdown would start. People would die alone, without any proper ceremony. Charlotte's death would be washed away, the first drop in a downpour. Nobody knew it then but hers would be the last good funeral of the year.

It was February 2020, when Ed O'Loughlin heard that Charlotte, a woman he'd known had died, young and before her time. He realised that he was being led to reappraise his life, his family and his career as a foreign correspondent and acclaimed novelist in a new, colder light.

He was suddenly faced with facts that he had been ignoring, that he was getting old, that he wasn't what he used to be, that his imagination, always over-active, had at some point reversed its direction, switching production from dreams to regrets. He saw he was mourning his former self, not Charlotte.

The search for meaning becomes the driving theme of O'Loughlin's year of confinement. He remembers his brother Simon, a suicide at thirty; the journalists and photographers with whom he covered wars in Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, wars that are hard to explain and never really stopped; his habit of shedding baggage, an excuse for hurrying past and not dwelling on things.

Moving, funny, and searingly honest, The Last Good Funeral of the Year takes the reader on a circular journey from present to past and back to the present: 'Could any true story end any other way?'

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Praise for The Last Good Funeral of the Year: A Memoir

  • War correspondent, father, husband, son, friend and grieving brother - Ed O'Loughlin has given us a powerful and unusual memoir. At times heartbreaking and often laugh-aloud funny, The Last Good Funeral is set to be among the very best of books for 2022.

  • Ed O'Loughlin is a natural storyteller, a good one, and he invites the reader right alongside in his honest search for meaning through reminiscence, memory and adventure. With precision and expertise, he probes past and present chapters of his life, all the while imparting his own brand of wisdom and humour. A great pleasure to read!

  • The past is a revenant that haunts the present in this exquisite and startling memoir by Ed O'Loughlin. The Last Good Funeral of the Year is a witty, engaging, heartbreaking, and beautifully wrought tour through the workings of memory, all unearthed during the world's great period of lockdown stillness. The stories and their people will remain with you long after finishing this book.

  • The Last Good Funeral of the Year is intelligent, funny, profound, painfully honest, beautifully written, and powerfully moving. Ed O'Loughlin is a writer who does brilliantly everything he turns his hand to; it's no surprise to find that his memoir is so unforgettably good.

  • This is a searing book, reminiscent of Joan Didion's masterpiece, "The Year of Magical Thinking." It wheels between the waypoints in O'Loughlin's life with remarkable dexterity, honesty and grace... What I found here was an exquisite portrait of grief - The Miramichi Reader

  • [A] brief and astonishingly frank memoir . . . Deftly and with increasing assurance, O'Loughlin weaves the tapestry of a life, pulling at the threads and dropped stitches of experience that have brought him to this difficult time and place . . .The account of his brother Simon's struggles with depression is achingly sad and beautifully rendered . . . O'Loughlin can be acerbic, self-deprecating and droll, often in the same paragraph. - Sunday Times Ireland

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