We’ve all participated in the rituals of the dead at some time or another in our lives, going to funerals and wakes, visiting loved...

We’ve all participated in the rituals of the dead at some time or another in our lives, going to funerals and wakes, visiting loved ones in cemeteries. Some of us may even have a plan for when we pass away, ourselves. But few of us have considered the myriad of ways we memorialize our deceased, and what compels us to honor and remember our dead in ways we don’t often do for the living.

In his debut essay collection, The Book of Resting Places: A Personal History of Where We Lay the Dead from Counterpoint Press, author Thomas Mira y Lopez examines how we memorialize those we’ve lost. In the wake of his fathers untimely death, Mira y Lopez navigates a complicated relationship with grief, taking the reader along on a walk through the memorial trees in Central Park, a drive over the Sonoran desert to Alcor’s Cryonics preservation facility, a trek across the ocean to the catacombs under Rome, the lonely canals of Venice, and countless cemeteries.

As with any good book of the dead, Mira y Lopez’s work serves as a kind of Memento Mori, concerned primarily with the living left behind—how we grieve those we’ve lost and come to terms with our own mortality and the inevitability of death.

Here to discuss his collection on the New Books Network today, please welcome Thomas Mira y Lopez.


Zoe Bossiere is a doctoral student at Ohio University, where she studies creative nonfiction and teaches writing classes. For more NBN interviews, follow her on Twitter @zoebossiere or head to zoebossiere.com.

 

 

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