A Tomb With a View: The Stories and Glories of Graveyards: Scottish Non-fiction Book of the Year 2021

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A Tomb With a View: The Stories and Glories of Graveyards: Scottish Non-fiction Book of the Year 2021

A Tomb With a View: The Stories and Glories of Graveyards: Scottish Non-fiction Book of the Year 2021

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In the same chapter Ross takes us to the graves of Republicans in Dublin, paying equal respect to that previously shown to sectarian sites, before turning our attention to diverse cultural beliefs about death and burial. a considered and moving book on the timely subject of how the dead are remembered, and how they go on working below the surface of our lives.

When he proved to be neither illuminating nor amusing, he was sent away to the countryside – where he does at least seem to have been fairly content. Molti di quelli citati li ho già visitati, altri (pochi) li ho scoperti e li ho segnati nella mia lista di posti da visitare. Some are opened up to the living for tours (of which the “Queerly Departed” tour of the graves of LGBTQ people in Brompton cemetery is a fine example), others as wedding venues.

From the women from Wigtown who were tied to stakes and drowned for refusing to give up their Protestant faith to Hannah Twinnoy, who lies in a grave in Malmesbury Abbey and who became the first person in England to be killed by a tiger. Norman Robbins, one of Amateur Theatre's most popular authors, wrote his first stage show almost 60 years ago whilst working for the Yorkshire Evening Post.

While she was excellent, and had an answer to even the most random question, nothing will top the disco in the chapel that marked the end of the evening. Ross brings both MacThomais and Glasnevin to life, delving into his family history and that of the cemetery, artfully interweaving both with tales of Ireland’s wider history. This soothing novel is a real recommendation not just for tapophiles (lovers of graves), but for everyone. Here, that seems particularly true of the chapters set in Dublin and – particularly – Belfast, where the ‘dark romance’ of the paramilitary dead colours the city ‘like some hidden pigment just outside the visible spectrum’. Another story that stands out is that of Shane MacThomais, a cemetery guide at Glasnevin who chose it as the place to quietly end his life.There were some funny moments too – an ossuary with a panic alarm in case of goths (tempted to goth it up and visit one day), and a Russian vegetarian unable to handle so many skulls (“I’m not trying to make you eat them, dear! I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that we should extend the same respect we have for the dead to the living. Ritual is important to those with faith too, and Ross spends time with a Muslim funeral director who has to collect a prepare a body for burial the following day so the soul can move on.

There are touching stories too, a love story of a couple who lived for 80 years and had 12 children and who died within hours of each other; one could not exist without the other. The chapters seem to be divided by elements on graveyards, like an ankh or angels, but then other chapters had titles like ‘Peter’ (to discuss the live and grave of this Peter) and ‘Skulls’ (to discuss a church with an ossuary).I’ve always loved wandering around churchyards and cemeteries, reading the headstones and learning about the past.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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