After the disappearance of their father and the sudden death of their mother, Lee Hart and his deaf brother, Ned, imagine all is lost until Lee lands a traineeship at their local funeral home and discovers there is life after death.
Here, in the company of a crooning ex-publican, a closet pole vaulter, a terminally-ill hearse driver, and the dead of their local town, old wounds begin to heal and love arrives as a beautiful florist aboard a 'Fleurtations' delivery van.
But death is closer than Lee Hart thinks. Somewhere among the quiet lanes and sleepy farms something else is waiting. And it is closing in. Don't bring your work home with you, that's what they say.
Too late. Sometimes sad, often hilarious and ultimately tragic and deeply moving, "A Trick I Learned from Dead Men" is a pitch perfect small masterpiece from a writer described by Richard Ford as having 'a moral grasp upon life that is grave, knowing, melancholy, often extremely funny and ultimately optimistic'.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 224 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 05/07/2012
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780224096430
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by vancouverdeb
A Trick I Learned From Dead Men is a quirky, interesting mix of dark humour and much sorrow. The novel is short, with just over 200 well spaced pages.The story is narrated by our 25 year old protagonist, Lee Hart. The style of narration reflects Lee's lack of education and his station in life, but can be off putting ,as it is very colloquial. Lee is a mortician in training. At a very young age, his father simply disappeared from the family in search of work, never to be heard from again. Lee's mother re- married a fellow named Lester, who, after the cancer death of Lee's mother, sits nearly catatonic on the couch watching daytime TV. Lee has a deaf, very mentally disturbed somewhat younger brother, who he also tries to care for.Lee's work as a mortician in training is touching, very graphic and insightful. Lee describes sewing lips together, stabilizing eyeballs, and applying make up to the dead. As Lee narrates " The dead deserve some peace and quiet. Important to respect their needs, it's not like they want much. Dead men need no one and nothing. Fair play to all of them, we could all take a tip." p 137Overall I was disappointed in the novel. Though I am accustomed to enjoying short ,sparse novels, I felt that the characters were underdeveloped, the narrative slight and somewhat annoying, and the ending to be very sudden and ambiguous. Just like the inderminate ending to the novel, I am left feeling puzzled and uncertain as to how to rate this book. 3. 25 stars
Review by ctpress
Review by foolplustime
This was an interesting one although I can't say I necessarily enjoyed it, or would recommend it. I don't actually have much to say beyond: the clipped sentences grew less annoying but I never became completely blind to them; and this is one of the few books whose score is made by their ending, which I really liked. Also, I am now a veritable wealth of knowledge on what to do with a corpse. Bring it on.