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Encyclopedia of the End: Mysterious Death in Fact, Fancy, Folklore, and More

Deborah Noyes, Author . Houghton Mifflin $25 (143p) ISBN 978-0-618-82362-8

This stylish A-to-Z encounter with all things related to death and dying shows Noyes (The Ghosts of Kerfol ; Red Butterfly ), a Candlewick editor, at her liveliest, starting with the quotations from the infamous deceased which appear on the endpapers. Addressing topics as far-ranging as “Genocide,” “Goth” (as in goth fashion) and “Spirit Photography” (she traces its origins to an 1861 Boston jewelry engraver turned fraudulent medium), the author offers a broad illumination of spiritual, historical and biological aspects of death. Photos, paintings and engravings in homage to “the end” make the book dynamic visually, too. Readers will be struck by the breadth of information provided in a single entry, as well as by the way the entries speak to one another, forming a cohesive whole. But what may please readers the most is Noyes’s welcome neutrality: the only agenda here is in the service of knowledge. Ages 12–up. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/17/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
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