If Bill Bryson were to join a Winnipeg funeral home as an apprentice, and if he searched for the meaning of life and death while he was at it, you'd have Curtains - enlightening, full of life in the midst of death, and very funny. "There's a time, from when someone dies to when they magically pop up at the funeral or as a bag of ashes, that remains a black hole, invisible to civilians, and they're happy with that arrangement. My job covers that gap." At forty-four Tom Jokinen began to seriously question the secular funeral rites that are taking over the industry: is this really the way we want to say our final goodbyes? The question had such a hard grip on his Finnish soul that he decided to quit his job in order to become an apprentice undertaker. Curtainsis about what he found, from the mundane to the macabre. Among the things he learned: in cremation, the heart and head are the last parts to burn; purple lipstick looks best on a dead man; funeral directors have been known to dance during the service - out of sight of funeral goers, of course, and with the utmost respect for the dead. For anyone who's secretly wondered why they paid $2000 for a 5-lb bag of dust - or questioned whether that dust was really the person they loved - Curtains lifts the veil on the funeral industry in the 21st century. From the Hardcover edition.
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