The Depositions (Paperback)

New and Selected Essays on Being and Ceasing to Be

By Thomas Lynch, Alan Ball (Foreword by)

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393541380, 352pp.

Publication Date: March 30, 2021

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (11/26/2019)

List Price: 17.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A wry and compassionate selection of essays reflecting on mortals and mortality, from the acclaimed author of The Undertaking.

For nearly four decades, poet, essayist, and small-town funeral director Thomas Lynch has probed relations between the literary and mortuary arts with a signature blend of memoir, meditation, gallows humor, and poetic precision. The Depositions offers a wry and compassionate selection from Lynch’s four previous collections of nonfiction, along with new essays shaped by the press of the author’s own mortality.

About the Author

Thomas Lynch’s stories, poems, and essays have appeared in Granta, the Atlantic, Harper’s, the New York Times, and elsewhere. His first collection of essays, The Undertaking, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Lynch lives in Milford, Michigan.

Praise For The Depositions: New and Selected Essays on Being and Ceasing to Be

[Lynch's] finest, wryest and most stylish essays about the human enterprise of mortality appear together in this collection...You will be grateful for these graceful essays, which light up so many of the dark details that are part of what is, after all, the one demographic to which we will all belong.
— Scott Simon

[Lynch] writes with grace and moral clarity about the quandaries and perplexities of life, and life's end...'It is nearly impossible to overestimate the balm that language can be,' he writes at one point. If we're talking the language of Thomas Lynch, balm is the right word.
— Joanne Kaufman

[A] wry, poignant collection of [Lynch's] best and newest essays. [The Depositions is] packed with penetrating observations about faith, family, work, art, and, yes, death.

— Kevin Canfield

When asked if writing about the dead affected her view of life, an obituary writer said ‘Yes, I divide everyone into two groups: the dead and the pre-dead.’ We of the latter group should be grateful to Thomas Lynch for writing about both with equal facility. His essays gathered here offer the pleasure of observing his curious mind dancing to the tune of his lively prose.
— Billy Collins

Thomas Lynch is one of my favorite living essayists. His mordant humor and openness to grace and mystery are a tonic. I can think of nothing better than to have in one book this collection of his dazzling former essays, plus the dynamite new ones.
— Phillip Lopate