Review from The Observer; 27th Aug 2017


Review from The Observer; 27th Aug 2017
Notice from Your Family History; 1st Sept 2017

‘The ‘Western Death Machine’ has hidden the dead and dying, but in a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, an almost Homeric society clings to the old ways. The dying are treasured and tenderly watched over, the dead are honoured with the ancient rites and rituals. Contemporary western ideas about death are dominated by individualism; My Father’s Wake is a lyrical description of how  community and tradition help us deal with our mortality’

Seamus O’Mahony, author of The Way We Die Now


As a boy, he learned to kiss the corpse at a traditional island wake. As a film-maker and witness to death in many conflict zones around the world, Kevin Toolis has written a profound book on the culture of grief and death, placing the personal alongside the political in a vivid exploration of our ancient ways of coming together around the dead. This is a moving family story, a memoir of loss and exile, a deep understanding of what makes us alive, casting a cold eye on what is precious and so often denied. 

Hugo Hamilton


Grippingly honest. Breathtaking writing. Stunning stuff. #NotOverItYet

Kate Kerrigan