Gin Mackey’s new novel, Disappear our Dead, is profound. I know that’s an unusual adjective to apply to a novel, but this is much more than a great story.
The death of the husband of Abby who lives on the coast of Maine plunges her into grief, her life deteriorating into isolation, when she rarely got out of bed. But then her daughter gets her up and out, and she finds new life in performing home funerals and “awakes.”
I loved the idea of “awakes” which gather folks around a dying person to let that person know how much he or she meant to the folks. These were major events with music and lots of story telling, and clearly made a big difference as the end of a life neared. I also learned a lot about home funerals, something that was common in the old days but is rare today.