Docket Page 18 – Whence and Whither by Thomas Lynch

CHARGE (What was the author trying to say?): The author explores “How did you come to be the one you are … if every cradle asks us where, surely every coffin makes us question whither?”

FACTS: I am still not sure why I requested to read an advance copy of a book by a mortician/poet. I’m not really a fan of poetry of death. The author seems to realize this going to be hard sell “neither poets nor undertakers … are on most folks’ list of favorite things.”

Lynch seems to waiver between a stance as a religious and that of an agnostic. A resolution of his own spiritual state could galvanize his writing. He seeks to live “a hyphenated life,” juggling his writing with “the contingencies of life and death.” To my mind, mortuary science is not the muse for great poetry. At times his writing is ponderous, and other times almost unintelligible.

His descriptions of the evolution of funerals and grief and cremation were tedious, as was the Lacrimae Rerum: A Play in One Act, which appears abruptly in this section.

The book is filled with family vignettes interspersed with some poetry, some ramblings, and some jumbled prose. I never sensed a purpose or flow to the story. I normally read for pleasure and was certainly not entertained by this book.

VERDICT (Was the author successful?): Not Guilty. I could see no point to this book, much less the author’s stated purpose.

#NetGalley #WhenceandWhither

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