The Joy of Funerals: A Novel in Stories

Overview

A young widow who lusts, a daughter who aches, a shopaholic who hungers...The Joy of Funerals is a riveting collection that explores the lives of nine young women, each willing to take drastic measures to fill the voids created by longing and loneliness. The first eight face death differently, while the ninth woman Nina ties them all together by attending funerals in her search to connect with others.

Written with raw wit, mordant humor and a uniquely penetrating voice, Strauss ...

See more details below
Paperback (First Edition)
$13.41
BN.com price
(Save 29%)$18.99 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (28) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $2.95   
  • Used (21) from $1.99   
The Joy of Funerals: A Novel in Stories

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

A young widow who lusts, a daughter who aches, a shopaholic who hungers...The Joy of Funerals is a riveting collection that explores the lives of nine young women, each willing to take drastic measures to fill the voids created by longing and loneliness. The first eight face death differently, while the ninth woman Nina ties them all together by attending funerals in her search to connect with others.

Written with raw wit, mordant humor and a uniquely penetrating voice, Strauss turns the spotlight on loss and grief. In the vein of Six Feet Under, this is a provocative look into the inner world of those left behind, and those still holding on.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Los Angeles Times
Although the book presents a number of incongruities among the relationships of its characters, the author nonetheless holds our attention from page to page. Though it's natural for readers to want to turn away from the pain of people who are grieving, Strauss, to her credit, manages to take us beyond this skittishness and into empathy for the characters. In and of itself, this is the biggest accomplishment of The Joy of Funerals and one that ultimately proves there is no one correct way to grieve. — Tripp Whetsell
Kirkus Reviews
Novel-in-stories about morbidly lonely thirtysomething women who find comfort in mortuaries. The women here are bereft of men and angry about it. In the first, seemingly unconnected chapter, "Recovering Larry," a widow of several weeks seeks to hold on to her husband by seducing men she finds at the cemetery and re-creating with them the matrimonial communion. In "Shrinking Away," a shopaholic debtor and Upper West Side daughter, Helen, commits a final desperate cry for love by stealing the ashes of her lover-therapist, Marty, who stepped into an elevator shaft. These are savvy, well-educated people, mainly in New York City, born into wealth and fortune and yet lacking satisfying love-relationships. Their obsessive stalking of others to assuage their gnawing loneliness can border on the creepy: in "Versions of You," Shannon, the fat girl in the Fifth Avenue office whom no one likes, fixates on the skinny, chronically hung-over Lilly and bestows on her a set of encyclopedias Shannon has bought from a dubious salesman type who reminds her of her father. "Addressing the Dead" pursues the sad affection a newly motherless daughter strikes up with her mother's funereal cosmetologist; while "Post Dated" chronicles the mortifying moments of a doomed blind date-the man ends up murdered. Ultimately, each protagonist reappears in the title story (the last and longest). There, Nina Perlman, incognito, recounts her systematic, daily visits to funeral services in order to find connection and consolation with the grief-stricken relatives: "Will you love me?" she ponders while meeting these strangers, who either draw her in with gratitude or cast her out in repulsion. Newcomer Strauss achieves cohesion,but her writing snags on the lamentably pedestrian ("anxiety rising in her chest like a soufflé baking in the oven"), while her characters, similar in background and voice, begin to sound like one another. A snappy idea buried by verveless writing.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312309183
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/9/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Alix Strauss is a lifestyle trend writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times and many other periodicals. This is her first novel. She lives in New York City.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Recovering Larry 1
The Way You Left 17
Shrinking Away 47
Addressing the Dead 61
Post-dated 77
Versions of You 91
Swimming Without Annette 113
Still Life 135
The Joy of Funerals 155
Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

Begun as a Lives column in the New York Times Magazine, The Joy of Funerals is a riveting look into the disturbing lives of nine young women, each willing to take drastic measures and demonstrate extreme behavior to fill the voids created by longing and loneliness. The first eight face death differently, from Leslie, who grieves for her dead husband by having random sex with mourners she finds at a cemetery, to the unnamed woman who can't stop believing that her recently deceased date was perhaps the perfect man. The ninth woman, Nina, ties them all together by attending these funerals in her search to bond with others. Throughout this dazzling collection, Strauss, with her mordant humor reminiscent of "Six Feet Under," and penetrating voice, explores how our most basic need for connection shapes and defines us.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2003

    Lots of Life in Joy of Funerals

    You might think that this would be a depressing book, being about death and funerals, but The Joy of Funerals is a suprisingly lively book! The characters are full formed and interesting, the pace of the stories and the novella is fast and funny and the writing is the kind you expect from an author maybe twice Strauss's age! I enjoyed it and reccomend it highly for summer reading or anytime.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2003

    A letter from the author

    ¿a widow who lusts....a daughter who aches...a lover who obsesses...a shopaholic who hungers ¿a dare-devil who desires ¿a single woman who longs¿an ¿ an artist who craves ¿ and a funeral-junkie who needs. These are the nine women who inhabit THE JOY OF FUNERALS. Throughout this 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 I am trying to explore through these sad, bright and amazingly strong women. In Recovering Larry, a woman mourns for her dead husband by having sex with grieving men she finds at the cemetery. In Shrinking Away, a woman pays a daring Shiva call on her psychiatrist-turned-lover¿s widow. 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 while Post-Dated introduces you to a single woman who wonders if her recently deceased date was perhaps the perfect man. Read independently, these 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 single thirty-something woman who attends the funerals of the deceased characters in the previous stories. I have always been fascinated with death. The different ways people react at funerals and how they choose to grieve captivates me. The dynamics, the unspoken words, the body language, everything that is said, and that which is not, is riveting. Family dynamics also play a major role in my work. The way we long for connection to each other, the needs we have that go unfilled, the people who define us and what we are without them, are the themes that surround the stories. I hope you will find these women and their tales engaging, interesting and thought provoking. Mostly, I hope these characters stay with you long after you¿ve read THE JOY OFFUNERALS. Many thanks. Alix Strauss

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)