The Good Funeral Awards

Sarah Murray’s new book Making an Exit

2 August, 2011

The Six Feet Under convention asks the questions that nobody wants to answer. For example, what are the best locations to end up in when we’re dead?

We found that author Sarah Murray has written a new book on the subject. She went on a trip across the globe to investigate the way people in different cultures have sent off their dead. Along the way, she encountered a Balinese royal cremation and a chandelier in the Czech Republic made from entirely human bones. She attended the American death care industry’s biggest road show and spent a ghoulish afternoon amid the mummified Sicilian corpses hanging on the walls of a crypt in Palermo.

What surprised her was the astonishing creativity that accompanies death. Faced with death, we create elaborate ceremonies to manage it and build great architectural edifices to honour it. We bury our loved ones in the ground.

We burn them in fire. In certain cultures, we leave corpses as carrion, inviting the birds to pick the bones dry. In others, we hang the dead in trees or stow them in caves. In naval circles, we consign them to the ocean.

Sarah Murray’s new book Making an Exit, From the Magnificent to the Macabre, How We Dignify the Dead describes all the options, and Sarah will be speaking about her book at the convention on Saturday 13 August 2011.