“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living,” Marcus Tullius Cicero once wrote. Caitlin Doughty has spent her life around the dead. A mortician by trade, Doughty, in From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death travels the world to discover how other cultures care for their dead. She goes to Bolivia to see cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls; to Japan to watch relatives of the deceased use chopsticks to pluck their loved ones’ bones from cremation ashes; to Indonesia to watch a man dress his grandfather’s mummified body.
With a keen sense of wonder, Doughty also digs deep into death-care innovators who are practicing green burials and composing bodies. The life of the dead is alive, indeed.