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The Book of Resting Places

List Price: $26.00

ON SALE: November 14, 2017 | Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.25, 224 pages | ISBN 9781619021235

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 The Book of Resting Places, a singular collection of essays that weaves history, mythology, journalism, and personal narrative into the author’s search for a place to process grief.

Across three continents and ten different resting places, 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 an 18th century desert cemetery that was relocated for the building of a modern courthouse, Mira y Lopez 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. The Book of Resting Places’s invigorating blend of ideas creates a relief map of our memorials while opening up the liminal spaces created not only when someone dies, but when our memories of them also begin to pass.

The Book of Resting Places is a roving elegy, a highly personal and startling dive into our personal and public underworlds—a meditation on the active and passive nature of memory, our variable states of grief, and our culture’s inclination to turn a blind eye to what it cannot process.

About Thomas Mira y Lopez

THOMAS MIRA Y LOPEZ is from New York City. He earned an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from the University of Arizona. His work has appeared in The Georgia ReviewKenyon Review Online, and The Normal School, among other publications, and includes a “Notable” Best American Essays selection. He currently lives in North Carolina, where he is the 2017–2018 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


“An excellent meditation on his father’s death and his mother’s preparations for her own, this book’s loneliness is matched by both its beauty and its curiosity. Unlike the bodies of those cryogenically frozen or their names scratched into trees, this book will be here for a very long time.” —Ander Monson, author of Letter to a Future Lover

“Each place in The Book of Resting Places is haunted. But the deeper we go into Thomas Mira y Lopez’s MC Escher painting of a collection, the more we realize that perhaps it is us, not the dead, who haunt the past. An excellent meditation on his father’s death and his mother’s preparations for her own, this book’s loneliness is more than matched by its curiosity and its beauty.” —Ander Monson, author of Vanishing Point

“Mira y Lopez is a stunning writer and his debut book, a tender and adventurous exploration of the intimate distances we share with the dead, deserves to be widely read. Artful sentences mirror, page after page, his artful mind. With formal intelligence and quiet wit, he has found death to be a spur to reflection and wholehearted embrace of life. This is a book to savor.” —Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit


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