From Here to Eter­nity

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO CITY BEAT - - by Caitlin Doughty

As a prac­tis­ing mor­ti­cian, Caitlin Doughty has long been fas­ci­nated by our per­va­sive terror of dead bodies.

She sets out in search of cul­tures un­bur­dened by such fears.

In ru­ral In­done­sia, she ob­serves a man clean and dress his grand­fa­ther’s mummi ed body.

She meets Bo­li­vian ñati­tas (cig­a­rette-smok­ing, wish-grant­ing hu­man skulls), and dis­cov­ers the Ja­panese rit­ual of kot­suage, in which rel­a­tives use chop­sticks to pluck their love­dones’ bones from cre­ma­tion ashes.

With cu­rios­ity and mor­bid hu­mour, Doughty in­tro­duces us to in­spir­ing death-care in­no­va­tors, par­tic­i­pates in pow­er­ful death practices al­most en­tirely un­known in the West and ex­plores new spa­ces for mourn­ing.

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