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The Day of the Dead

And Other Mortal Reflections


F. Gonzalez-Crussi (View Bio)
Trade Paperback: Kaplan Publishing, 2009.

The Day of the Dead

“Delightfully readable.”—Newsday

“Dr. Gonzalez–Crussi is a marvelous storyteller as well as a meticulous observer, and he has written a book about death that is pulsing with life.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Gonzalez–Crussi comes off as a sort of dream dinner guest:  urbane, informed, ironic, and entertaining.”—San Francisco Examiner–Chronicle

“Gonzalez–Crussi [writes] with a flowing prose style … indulging some perceptive observations on politics and religion en route….  His account of the filming of an autopsy he performed leads into a commentary on various reactions to death.  He draws attention to the profound difference between the words ‘resuscitation’ and ‘reactivation’ in near–death situations….  There is much here for immediate and future pondering.”—Booklist

"Elegant…. While Gonzalez–Crussi brings some levity to his subject here, the overall tone is serious—appropriately so—and should stir readers into their own memento mori."Kirkus Reviews 

“This strangely beautiful, disquieting meditation on death begins as Gonzalez-Crussi visits an embalmer, who relates the bizarre fates of two famous cadavers: slain gangster John Dillinger and Argentine demagogue Eva Peron. The author, a Chicago pathologist and popular essayist, next travels to his native Mexico for the festive Day of the Dead celebrated on Nov. 2. Back in the U.S., for the benefit of anxious BBC documentary filmmakers, he performs an autopsy of a patient who has died of AIDS. Elsewhere Gonzalez-Crussi ponders how artists and movie-makers from Hieronymus Bosch to Ingmar Bergman invent imagery to come to grips with the Grim Reaper. He proves himself a memorable, often profound essayist in this exploration of death's meanings and our denial or avoidance of mortality."Publishers Weekly

"These are a moving series of meditative essays.... They probe behind the scenes to explore such things as the author's own misgivings in permitting the filming of an autopsy, reflect on death as it is depicted in various forms of art, and reveal Mexico's 'Day of the Dead' celebrations and religious syncretism. These beautiful, poetic essays will speak to people of various religious traditions and beliefs."Library Journal