JULIE POLTER TROTS out Jessica Mitford's old song and dance routine about the evils of the funeral trade ("We All Have to Die," May-June 2000). It's an old act, not completely lifeless, but a bit stale. For those who appreciate counterpoint and fresh insights, I recommend the writing of essayist, poet, and mortician Thomas Lynch such as The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade (W.W. Norton & Co., 1997). He illuminates matters of life and death in much the same way as Wendell Berry illuminates matters of culture and agriculture: sanely, humanely, without cant, and with considerable style and grace.
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