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The Book of Resting Places

A Personal History of Where We Lay the Dead

Thomas Mira y. Lopez


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"The Book of Resting Places is Mira y Lopez's account of his travels, from a cemetery to a crematorium to a cryonics company . . . He's looking for the good death, somewhere, anywhere." --The New Yorker

In the aftermath of his father's untimely death and his family's indecision over what to do with the remains, Thomas Mira y Lopez became obsessed with the type and variety of places where we lay the dead to rest. The result is a singular collection of essays that weaves together history, mythology, journalism, and personal narrative into the author's search for a place to process grief.

Mira y Lopez explores unusual hallowed grounds--from the world's largest cryonics institute in southern Arizona to a set of Roman catacombs being digested by modern bacteria, to his family's burial plots in the mountains outside Rio de Janeiro to a nineteenth-century desert cemetery that was relocated for the building of a modern courthouse. The Book of Resting Places examines these overlooked spaces and what they tell us about ourselves and the passing of those we love--how we grieve them, and how we attempt to forget them.

Counterpoint LLC, 9781619021235, 208pp.

Publication Date: November 14, 2017

About the Author

Thomas Mira Y Lopez is from New York City. He earned an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from the University of Arizona, and his work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Kenyon Review Online, and The Normal School, among other publications. He currently lives in North Carolina, where he is the 2017-2018 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.