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Talking About Death: Comforting Advice about Uncomfortable Issues


V. Morris. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. 2004. 304 pp. $14.95. (919) 967-0108.


Most people have been conditioned to avoid discussions of death, which is why, when the end nears, many are inadequately prepared. We may be haunted by memories of how inappropriately, painfully, or uncomfortably a loved one died. Many of us avoid even considering the options, in all their complexity that we will one day face, given our new longevity and the profound advances in medicine.


With its wise and compelling argument that all of us, at any age, can and should face death before it faces us, Talking About Death addresses cultural, personal, medical, and legal concerns to find a way for us to prepare for a good death-a death where the dying are in control and not, as is too often the case, caught in the downward spiral of medical intervention and misunderstood intentions. The book skillfully weaves together personal stores and practical matters, scientific fact, and spiritual sensitivity into a powerful tome about how we can achieve a greater sense of peace in dying, and so rediscover the art of living.