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This Party's Dead

Grief, Joy and Spilled Rum at the World's Death Festivals

Erica Buist


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

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (8/10/2021)


" A] rollicking, globe-trotting death adventure..."--The Brooklyn Rail

What if we responded to death... by throwing a party? Journalist Erica Buist travels to seven death festivals around the world (Nepal, Madagascar, Indonesia, Sicily, Japan, Mexico and New Orleans)

By the time Erica Buist's father-in-law Chris was discovered, upstairs in his bed, his book resting on his chest, he had been dead for over a week. She searched for answers (the artery-clogging cheeses in his fridge?) and tried to reason with herself (does daughter-in-law even feature in the grief hierarchy?) and eventually landed on an inevitable, uncomfortable truth: everybody dies.

With Mexico's Day of the Dead festivities as a starting point, Erica decided to confront death head-on by visiting seven death festivals around the world - one for every day they didn't find Chris. From Mexico to Nepal, Sicily, Thailand, Madagascar, Japan and finally Indonesia - with a stopover in New Orleans, where the dead outnumber the living ten to one - This Party's Dead is the account of her journey to understand how other cultures deal with mortal terror, how they move past the knowledge that they're going to die in order to live happily day-to-day, how they celebrate rather than shy away from the topic of death - and how when this openness and acceptance are passed down through the generations, death suddenly doesn't seem so scary after all. Now available in paperback.

Unbound, 9781800181397, 320pp.

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

About the Author

Erica Buist is a writer, journalist and author living in London. She has written for Guardian, the BBC, Medium, Newsweek and in various literary magazines and anthologies. She has been awarded writing residencies at The Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, Vermont Studio Center, Faber, Arte Studio Ginestrelle and VCCA. Erica is currently working on a collection of short stories based in London. @ericabuist