What's it all about?
The Joy of Funerals is a sneak peek at the inner world of those left behind. From the very first page, readers are drawn into the strange, often humorous world where nine women grapple with sex, power, love, and death. Meet a widow who lusts...a daughter who aches...a lover who obsesses...a shopaholic who hungers... a daredevil who desires...a single woman who longs...an outsider who hopes...an artist who craves...and a funeral-junkie who needs. These are the women who inhabit the eerily honest, often heartbreaking world Alix Strauss has created in The Joy of Funerals.
Throughout this powerful and provocative collection, these characters explore the basic need for human connection while seeking to understand themselves better. It is the 'where do I belong' and the 'how do I fit in' that these sad, bright and amazingly strong women seek to answer.
In "Recovering Larry," a woman mourns for her dead husband by having sex with grieving men. In "Shrinking Away," a woman pays a daring shiva call on her psychiatrist's widow. "Swimming Without Annette" explores a woman's obsession with her wife's killer, while "Still Life" peers into the life of a pregnant artist who wishes to paint herself out of a bad marriage and into a prettier world. In "Post-Dated," a single woman wonders if her recently defunct date was perhaps the perfect man.
Read independently, these vivid and raw stories stand on their own. When read as a collection, they are anchored together by the novella, "The Joy of Funerals," which follows the life of Nina, a lonely, single thirty-something woman who attends the funerals of the deceased characters in the previous stories. Thinking her ‘funeraling’ habit is under control, Nina slips seamlessly in and out of these proceedings, and these people's lives, until, of course, she's found out.
Begun as an essay in the Lives column of The New York Times magazine, The Joy of Funerals is written with raw wit, mordant humor and a uniquely penetrating voice as Strauss turns the spotlight on the unattractive subjects of loss, grief and loneliness.