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May-June 2017

REVIEW: New book explores the dying art of eulogy

Inside Julia Cooper's The Last Word

Marisa Iacobucci

9781552453414_cover1_rb_modalcoverThe Last Word: Reviving the Dying Art of Eulogy
By Julia Cooper
Coach House Books, $14.95

Not knowing what to say when death arrives is precisely why readers should pick up Julia Cooper’s lifesaver of a book, The Last Word: Reviving the Dying Art of Eulogy. In this critical examination and analysis of the eulogy in its various forms—poetic, humorous, honorary, theoretical, fictional, online, heartfelt, and heartless—Cooper theorizes there are no right words or timelines to express one’s thoughts when it comes to death. By interspersing her own reflections of loss, the author bravely shows that these “final” goodbyes are just veiled beginnings of a long, difficult, and deeply personal dialogue with sorrow.

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