cover image You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife

You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife

Edited by Kel McDonald and Andrea Purcell. Iron Circus, $20 (260p) ISBN 978-1-94582-063-2

This remarkable anthology collects positive perspectives on what happens after one dies, using fiction, nonfiction, mythology, autobiography, and other genre approaches. Some pieces are educational: Laura Ketcham’s “Peat, Bone, Oak” explains bog mummies, and Karoline Grønvik’s sumptuously drawn guide to Victorian mourning etiquette showcases veils and jet brooches. Others are personal: Danielle Chuatico shares her Filipino family’s celebration of All Souls’ Day, while Casey Gilly’s “Funeral in Foam,” drawn by Raina Telgemeier, shares her experience secretly scattering her father’s ashes at his favorite amusement park. Fictional pieces range from drama to fantasy to science fiction tales that envision high-tech funeral customs. One of the book’s visual standouts, “Inanna’s Descent into the Underworld” by Ahueonao, retells a Sumerian myth about mourning. The witty, manga-style “Third Option” by A. “Miru” Lee, meanwhile, finds representatives of the Christian and Korean Buddhist afterlives pitching to a Korean-American who believes in both. (“I mean, just the same clouds and ambrosia all day, every day?”) The editors tackle a huge and daunting subject with aplomb, resulting in a volume that embraces death as a concept with due complexity. The hefty work is diverse enough—in subject matter, mood, art, and representation of cultures and perspectives—to offer something for every open-minded reader. (Mar.)