fromDa Capo Press

My Father's Wake

How the Irish Teach Us to Live, Love, and Die

By Kevin Toolis

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.
Kevin Toolis is a writer and BAFTA-winning filmmaker. He is the author of an acclaimed chronicle of Ireland's Troubles, Rebel Hearts: Journeys within the IRA's Soul. He has written for the New York Times Magazine and The Guardian and reported on conflicts around the world. His family has lived in the same oceanside village on an island off the coast of County Mayo for the last 200 years. He lives on the island and in London.

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