Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-In-Training
What sort of homework do they assign at funeral director school? And are you supposed to bring your favourite teacher a dead apple? At the launch of his hilarious new memoir Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-In-Training (Random House), veteran CBC broadcaster Tom Jokinen will have a lively chat about death and funeral rites with James Grainger, editor of Books.Torontoist. Marc Glassman, Executive Director of This Is Not A Reading Series, will host the evening. – A TINARS event presented by The Force For Cultural Events Production (FORCE), Random House of Canada, Gladstone Hotel, NOW Magazine, Torontoist.com, and Take Five on CIUT.
Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-In-Training: "There's a time, from when someone dies to when they magically pop up at the funeral or as a bag of ashes, that remains a black hole, invisible to civilians, and they're happy with that arrangement. My job covers that gap."
At forty-four Tom Jokinen began to seriously question the secular funeral rites that are taking over the industry: is this really the way we want to say our final goodbyes? The question had such a hard grip on his Finnish soul that he decided to quit his job in order to become an apprentice undertaker. Curtains is about what he found, from the mundane to the macabre. Among the things he learned: in cremation, the heart and head are the last parts to burn; purple lipstick looks best on a dead man; funeral directors have been known to dance during the service - out of sight of funeral goers, of course, and with the utmost respect for the dead. For anyone who's secretly wondered why they paid $2000 for a 5-lb bag of dust - or questioned whether that dust was really the person they loved - Curtains lifts the veil on the funeral industry in the 21st century.
If Bill Bryson were to join a Winnipeg funeral home as an apprentice, and if he searched for the meaning of life and death while he was at it, you'd have Curtains - enlightening, full of life in the midst of death, and very funny.
Tom Jokinen is a radio producer and video-journalist who has worked on Morningside, Counterspin with Avi Lewis and Definitely Not the Opera as well as many other CBC shows. In 2006 he took a job as an apprentice undertaker at a Winnipeg funeral home. He has also worked as a railroad operator, an editorial cartoonist and spent two years in medical school at the University of Toronto. He dropped out, but not before dissecting two human cadavers.
James Grainger is editor of Books.Torontoist. He is also a books columnist for the Toronto Star and the author of The Long Slide. Grainger has been a commentator for TVO, CBC Radio, and CBC Newsworld.
Tom Jokinen: Catherine Whiteside, email@example.com, (416) 957-1543
This Is Not A Reading Series: Chris Reed, firstname.lastname@example.org