Praise for The Mourner's Dance
"A wonderful book ... to which I have referred numerous people. Please know that I very
much appreciated your engaging writing style, and the beautiful way you outlined the diversity
of paths undertaken after the loss of a loved one. You provide such a depth
of information, while doing it in such a way that the reader is not even aware of being educated
simultaneously in cultures, rituals, psychology, sociology, religion, and anthropology. You
truly are a gifted writer and educator. Your book is a contribution to thanatology, for sure."
Therese Rando, therapist, director of The Institute for the Study and Treatment of Loss, and author of How to Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies
"Such an elegant, deeply informative text. The Mourner's Dance weaves rich scholarship through the homespun of family history, folk tradition, and manifest humanity. In a way that Jessica Mitford never could, Ashenburg understands the verities of good grief and good funerals and why, to deal with death, we must deal with our dead. Free of the warm-fuzzies, full of uncommon wisdom here is a gift outright to anyone who reads and breathes."
Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking
"A fascinating, intelligent, moving, and witty account of one of our most basic and least understood needs: to come to terms with the end of a life that we loved."
"Kathering Ashenburg's The Mourner's Dance will not sink you into sadness. The buoyant narrative is moving, exotic, outrageous ... A serenditpitous tour of anthropology, cultural history, psychology and personal reflection ... It's a pleasure to accompany Ashenburg."
Keith Nickson, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
"Compassionate and compelling, The Mourner's Dance is a finely researched and beautifully expressed exploration of the many different paths that we take when we make the unavoidable journey through the territory of grief."
"Elegantly written ... Death comes to everyone, and the survivors go on living. How we cope goes straight to the heart of being human. The Mourner's Dance learned, often moving and even consoling is a superb survey."
Brian Bethune, Maclean's
"I found your book very graceful and fascinating."
Caryn James, reporter, The New York Times
"An intricate tapestry that maps out the emotional landscape of grief. Whether [Ashenburg] is retelling a stark Buddhist parable or describing the hot scratchy horrors of the 19th-century black crape, The Mourner's Dance is a richly informative and compassionate book."
David Colterjohn, The Vancouver Sun
"The Mourner's Dance: What We Do When People Die is actually a book very
full of life. Beautifully written and surprisingly hard to put down, it takes a
wide-ranging look at death customs, showing peculiarity, individuality and universality in human
responses to the loss of someone. Although I enjoy a walk in a cemetery, I was surprised to find this
book so compelling. Katherine Ashenburg caught my attention and held it ... Ashenburg is one of
the very skilled practitioners of the literary movement called "creative nonfiction" or
Maureen E. Daly, Catholic News Service
About the Book | Read an Excerpt | Praise