A Tomb With a View: The Stories and Glories of Graveyards: Scottish Non-fiction Book of the Year 2021

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A Tomb With a View: The Stories and Glories of Graveyards: Scottish Non-fiction Book of the Year 2021

A Tomb With a View: The Stories and Glories of Graveyards: Scottish Non-fiction Book of the Year 2021

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I’ve always loved wandering around churchyards and cemeteries, reading the headstones and learning about the past. There are touching stories too, a love story of a couple who lived for 80 years and had 12 children and who died within hours of each other; one could not exist without the other.

The section on Crossbones in London, a cemetery for the poor and outcasted, is also quite emotional. A secular place, with slate stones for markers, it is a place of calm and beauty where the bodies of those gone are put into the earth to become part of it. I have a lifelong fascination with cemeteries and spent my younger years exploring the graveyards where I lived, reading the tombstones wondering about the life of the person in the ground, who they were, how they lived, how they died, so this book was enlightening. Back in England, he investigates what happened to conscientious objectors killed in wartime and travels around northern France with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

While she was excellent, and had an answer to even the most random question, nothing will top the disco in the chapel that marked the end of the evening. Peter Ross takes us on a tour of his favourite graveyards and introduces us to those who reside there, and, where temporally feasible, those who love them. For example in Kensal Green cemetery there is a recently erected, very elaborate memorial – at least as imposing as its Victorian predecessors – that was erected by his father to Medi, an 11 year-old boy who died in a horse riding accident. This soothing novel is a real recommendation not just for tapophiles (lovers of graves), but for everyone.

This book opened up this thought process fo me, and I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to review it. In his absorbing book about the lost and the gone, Peter Ross takes us from Flanders Fields to Milltown to Kensal Green, to melancholy islands and surprisingly lively ossuaries … a considered and moving book on the timely subject of how the dead are remembered, and how they go on working below the surface of our lives. All of these sorrowful mysteries – and many more – are answered in ‘A Tomb with a View’, a book for anyone who has ever wandered through a field of crooked headstones and wondered about the lives and deaths of those who lie beneath. Some of these big places are stunningly beautiful, and the English there often at their most eccentric. He is the author of the non-fiction collections Daunderlust and The Passion Of Harry Bingo, the latter shortlisted as non-fiction book of the year at the Saltire Society literary awards.After this period has lapsed people can chose to renew this period but if the bill is not paid, a grave will be cleared and made available to a new person. In our culture, Death has made exactly the same transition, from central to fringe, visible to obscured. He can also handle harder stories that blend history and culture too, sometimes ones you might never have thought of. He does the same with Shane MacThomais, who lies in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery, having worked there as a tour guide, sharing his knowledge of and love for the place before taking his own life close to the main gates. This book therefore read like a stream of consciousness, in which the author described his experiences at different graveyards however he remembered them, and throwing in some fun facts for good measure.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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