Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cemetery fiction

Source: Wikipedia
When I was a kid, you could--if for some reason you wanted to--picnic at Arlington National Cemetery. For me, this was not as bizarre a concept as it might have been to some people because in the South, there's a tradition of "visiting relatives" in graveyards, cleaning up around tombstones and memorial markers, and generally "keeping in touch." There are some truly beautiful cemeteries in the South, from the above-ground vaults in New Orleans' Saint Louis No. 1 to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah. (If you've seen the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, you've seen one of the cemetery monuments from Bonaventure.)

I'm not alone in my appreciation of a beautiful cemetery. Life's Business Insider once ran a pictorial called "20 of the World's Most Stunning Cemeteries." (Find it here.) Cemeteries from all over the globe were photographed, and the US still had some of the most beautiful. Some of my favorite fantasy books are set in cemeteries. They are:


A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle--I like this much more than his more famous book The Last Unicorn. And while I loved the high fantasy of "Come Lady Death," this story of love and last
chances is just achingly romantic for me. I haven't read any of his newer books and I'm not sure why. I think perhaps it's that he went a long time between books and I just sort of lost track of him. But now a couple of his books are on the TBR list.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman--this book is hands down my favorite Gaiman book. It begins with a shocking act of violence, but the lovely characters and warm relationships that develop between the orphaned child and the ghosts who raise them are just terrific.

Pure by Andrew Miller--combines a couple of my favorite things--Paris, suspense, and mystery in one delightful read. Miller also wrote the dual narrative novel Oxygen, which won all sorts of prizes when it was published, especially for the way the writer handled a bleak subject. I liked Pure better. It reminded me a bit of the movie The Draughtsman's Contract.

If you're interested in books about cemeteries, GoodReads has a fantastic list.


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