The Irish Literary Society opens its 2018-19 season with a meditation on death, dying and our attitudes to mortality. In his book, The Way We Die Now, Dr. O’Mahony gives us a rare glimpse into the world of death and dying from the vantage point of a medical doctor. In My Father’s Wake Toolis writes of his coming-to-terms with the death of his father and brother and reflects on the denial of space for grief in the modern world.
‘Toolis has written a profound book on the culture of grief and death, placing the personal alongside the political in a vivid exploration of our ancient ways of coming together around the dead’.Hugo Hamilton
What have we lost in moving from the funeral rites of Achill to the medicalised procedure that most of us now experience of death? These rich accounts of care for the dying and dead offer a critique of the idea of a ‘good death’, a reflection on the literary history of death and the role of the hospital as antechamber to the tomb. Henry James called death ‘the distinguished thing’, but O’Mahony reminds us, ‘death, for most people, is banal, anticlimactic. The End is robbed of its significance by our new hospital rituals. Most people who die in hospitals do so after several days of syringe-driver induced oblivion.’ Book signing to follow discussion.