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The Book of Resting Places

List Price: $26.00

November 14, 2017 | Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.25, 224 pages | ISBN 9781619021235
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“Mira y Lopez’s first book is a thoughtful, intriguing collection of 10 personal essays dealing with the dead and where they end up . . . These are wide-ranging and often tender meditations on death.” ―Kirkus Reviews

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, 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.
Praise

“In this insightful collection of personal essays, Lopez proves a poetic, thoughtful, and at times surprisingly funny narrator in his quest for the most meaningful way to remember the dead . . . Lopez’s contemplation of mortality and memory makes for a collection of quietly profound essays.” —Publishers Weekly

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

“Thomas Mira y Lopez’s debut essay collection is a finely wrought exploration of grief, mythology, history, and global death practices . . . Mira y Lopez travels far and wide . . . in search of answers.” —The Guardian

“At one point in this debut, a researcher compares excavation to arranging a tapestry—an apt analogy for Mira y Lopez’s essay collection itself . . . Each chapter alternates—or weaves—between his personal experience and history, myth, and societal practice.” —Booklist

“A heartfelt and personal exploration of hallowed grounds—and the history and mythology surrounding them—inspired by the sudden death of Mira y Lopez’s father.” —BuzzFeed

“It’s a surprisingly quirky book; Mira y Lopez is honest about grief and his own imperfections, and this coherent collection of personal essays ranges from sad to downright funny.” —Triangle.com

“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

The Book of Resting Places is admirable for the restlessness and fierceness of its need to work through both its own elegy and the nature of elegies in general. From defunct cemeteries to Canaletto’s genius for turning presence to absence to those museums of the self assembled by collectors or hoarders to the nature of parallax to cryonics, it’s wryly deft in its associative deployment of useful metaphors in its attempt to come to terms with loss, and shame: what is the safest way to preserve the dead, and to acknowledge the love we sometimes failed to reciprocate?” —Jim Shepard, author of The World to Come and The Book of Aron

“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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