Friday, September 26, 2014

The Removers, by Andrew Meredith

The Removers takes its title from the decade that author Meredith spent working in the funeral business--first driving a hearse to pick-up bodies of people who have died and driving them to the funeral home, and then working in the cremation business. Only a small, but bizarrely interesting, portion of the book is about this work. Instead, most of the book is a memoir of Meredith's dysfunctional family (his father was fired from a university teaching position for inappropriate relations with students and his parents lived together without talking for the next 10 years) and his own inability to commit to anything--a relationship, a career path, his education. This material is unfortunately rather mundane.

Those who have followed my blog know I'm not generally a big fan of memoirs and often think the author should have written an article rather than stretching the material into a book--that criticism fits Meredith's book. Furthermore, the book feels like Meredith wrote narratives for different periods of his life and then cut them up and shoveled the pieces together in a seemingly random order. I'm sure the order makes sense to Meredith, but it didn't help me derive any particular meaning from his reflections.

Not recommended.

Favorite passage:
The thing I discovered in my late approach to growing up is the peace in realizing there is nothing special in the traumas that form us. (And perhaps that's why fewer people should write memoirs!)

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