At forty-four, Tom Jokinen decided to quit his job in order to become an apprentice undertaker, setting out to ask the questions: What is the right thing to do when someone dies? With the marketplace offering new options (go green, go anti-corporate, go Disney, be packed into an artificial reef and dropped in the Atlantic...), is there still room for tradition? In a year of adventures both hair-raising and hilarious, Jokinen finds a world that is radically changed since Jessica Mitford revised The American Way of Death, more surprising than Six Feet Under, and even funnier and more illuminating than Stiff.
If Bill Bryson were to apprentice at a funeral home, searching for the meaning of life and death, you'd have Curtains.
About the Author
Tom Jokinen is a radio producer and video-journalist who has also worked as a railroad operator and an editorial cartoonist. Jokinen spent two years in medical school, where he dissected two human cadavers. He and his wife live in Ottawa.
Kirkus Reviews, December 2009 “In this report on the modern funeral industry, Jokinen updates The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford’s classic 1963 treatise on the subject…An astute, measured look at the modern death-care industry.”
Booklist, 1/30/10 “Jokinen’s wry observations on and revelations about mortality and the industry it has engendered evoke a youthful adventure into the unknown…Recounting his experiences, he delivers ironic dialogue with standup skill and smoothly integrates technical information and market data without hindering the flow of readable insights.”
Shelf Awareness, 2/25/10 “A thoughtful, provocative and often wry account of the modern funeral industry by an apprentice undertaker.”
PublishersWeekly.com, 3/1/10 “An interesting glimpse into an almost-invisible industry, and the forces pushing it in strange new directions.”
Minneappolis Star-Tribune, 3/28/10Curtains is absolutely to die for.”
Hudson Valley News, April 2010 “Mordant but not morbid, this book is a delight. Honest.”