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W&N Memoir HB / ETPB September £16.99 / £14.99 288pp 978 1 474 60522 9 / 978 1 474 60523 6 eBook: £16.99 / 978 1 474 60525 0

‘Compelling, chilling, coldly brilliant . . . Easily the best book I have read on the Troubles’ – Literary Review on Rebel Hearts

KEVIN TOOLIS My Father’s Wake How the Irish teach us to live, love and die an intimate, lyrical memoir exploring the ancient rite of the irish wake, and the irish way of overcoming our fear of death.

Death is a whisper in the Anglo-Saxon world. But on a remote island, off the coast of Co. Mayo in Ireland, it has a louder voice. Along with reports of incoming Atlantic storms, the local radio station runs a thrice daily roll call of ordinary deaths. The islanders go in great numbers, often with young children, to wake with their dead. They keep the corpse and the bereaved company through the long hours of the night. They dig the grave with their own hands. It is a communal triumph in overcoming the death of the individual.

In this beautifully written book, Kevin Toolis gives an intimate, eyewitness account of the death and wake of his father, and explores the wider history of the Irish wake. With an uplifting, positive message at its heart, My Father’s Wake celebrates the spiritual depth of the Irish wake and asks if we can find a better way to deal with our mortality, by living and loving in the acceptance of death.

Kevin Toolis is a writer and BAFTA-winning filmmaker. He is the author of an acclaimed chronicle of Ireland's Troubles, Rebel Hearts: Journeys within the IRA's Soul. He has written for the New York Times Magazine and the Guardian. As a film maker Toolis won the BAFTA for Best Single Drama in 2014.

W&N Non-fiction • September 2017


Location: Walworth, London f/kevin.toolis T: @KevinToolis