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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We did pubs and nice little towns like Rye and good food and some Great Houses, but what every time surprised them most was the visit to an English countryside graveyard.

A Tomb With a View: the stories and glories of graveyards is the first book I am writing about that is actually concerned with cemeteries. It’s genuinely a joy to read his work: I could quite happily have gone straight back to the beginning and started all over again. A Tomb With A View is published by Headline and is available in hardback, ebook and as an audio download. It was first known as Prospect Cemetery and the tragic tale of Shane MacThomáis who once told the stories of the people within its walls and took his own life on a tree in the grounds. All those lives lived, all those stories now forgotten, some people still remembered, most now just names on a gravestone.

But what really interests Ross are the small stories, tales he says, that are everywhere ‘lying beneath the moss and leaves’. True, they are often derelict, overgrown and half collapsed, but also so atmosferic, and not in a spooky way. Another favorite is about a modern maker of death masks, whose work appears on three headstones in Highgate Cemetery. Having mass in places that juxtaposed the living and the dead were thought to be mutually beneficial. I love Peter Ross's writing - he always treats his subjects with kindness and curiosity, and in A Tomb With a View, he demonstrates that he extends that curtesy to the dead as well as the living.

What, for example, happens to urban graveyards when they are full up and no-one has any money to look after them? 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. It struck me then that every gravestone is a story, and I set out to learn and tell as many as I could. What is striking and surprising, however, is the way in which a book such as this is also life-affirming.In London’s Highgate, he compares the attention paid to the tombs of people such as Karl Marx and George Elliot, to the privacy of George Michael’s grave, before focusing on the story of the ancient graveyard cedar, so lovingly cared for, but eventually replaced by a young sapling. The first barmaid in England to have been eaten by a tiger (Hannah Twynoy, 23 October 1703, Malmesbury) makes it into his pages.



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

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