Author(s): Caitlin Doughty
As a practicing mortician, Caitlin Doughty has long been fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies. In this new book she sets out in search of cultures unburdened by such fears, exploring Indonesian burial caves and meeting a Bolivian natita (a cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skull). With curiosity and morbid humour, Doughty encounters vividly decomposed corpses, participates in diverse death practices, and uncovers historical and national oddities. Appraising 'dignified' Western funerary traditions (in which we pump bodies full of chemicals or burn them in giant ovens), she marvels as people create new spaces for mourning - including a futuristic glowing-Buddha columbarium in Japan, a candlelit Mexican cemetery, and America's only open-air pyre in Colorado. From Here to Eternity tells a story that expands our sense of what's 'normal' and explores how unexpected moments of comfort and healing can be gained through directly tending to our deceased.
Caitlin Doughty was born and raised in Hawaii before gaining a degree in Medieval History from the University of Chicago. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she owns an alternative funeral home, Undertaking LA. She is the creator of the 'Ask a Mortician' web series, the founder of the death acceptance collective The Order of the Good Dead and co-founder of Death Salon. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.