We have lost the ability to deal with death. Most of our friends and beloved relations will die in a busy hospital in the care of strangers, doctors, and nurses they have known at best for a couple of weeks. They may not even know they are dying, victims of the kindly lie that there is still hope. They are unlikely to see even their family doctor in their final hours, robbed of their dignity and fed through a tube after a long series of excessive and hopeless medical interventions.
This is the starting point of Seamus O'Mahony's thoughtful, moving and unforgettable book on the western way of death. Dying has never been more public, with celebrities writing detailed memoirs of their illness, but in private we have done our best to banish all thought of dying and made a good death increasingly difficult to achieve.
"[O'Mahony] beautifully describes the ‘ideal' fantasy death we create for ourselves." - Irish Examiner
"Offers a frank and pessimistic view of how we think about death… provocative and effective." - The Times
"O'Mahony leaves no stone unturned, sniffing out cant and hypocrisy wherever he finds it. And his views are as consistently intelligent as they are surprising. All of this culminates in an impassioned battle-cry" - The Daily Telegraph
DR. SEAMUS O'MAHONY is a Consultant Gastroenterologist at Cork University Hospital. He is associate editor for medical humanities of the Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and is a regular contributor to the Dublin Review of Books.