Caitlin Doughty: From Here to Eternity
Caitlin Doughty discusses her new book, From Here to Eternity. --- Fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for their dead. In rural Indonesia, she observes a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body. Grandpa’s mummy has lived in the family home for two years, where the family has maintained a warm and respectful relationship. She meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette- smoking, wish- granting human skulls), and introduces us to a Japanese kotsuage, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved- ones’ bones from cremation ashes. With curiosity and morbid humor, Doughty encounters vividly decomposed bodies and participates in compelling, powerful death practices almost entirely unknown in America. Featuring Gorey-esque illustrations by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity introduces death-care innovators researching green burial and body composting, explores new spaces for mourning― including a glowing- Buddha columbarium in Japan and America’s only open-air pyre― and reveals unexpected new possibilities for our own death rituals. --- About Caitlin Doughty: Mortician Caitlin Doughty—host and creator of “Ask a Mortician” and the New York Times best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes—founded the Order of the Good Death. She lives in Los Angeles, where she runs her non-profit funeral home, Undertaking LA.