A Long Day at the End of the World

Brent Hendricks, Author
Brent Hendricks. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $14 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-374-14686-3
Reviewed on: 10/29/2012
Release date: 03/12/2013
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-374-70885-6
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Sharing many of the same qualities that made his first book of poems, Thaumatrope, a fascinating conceptual and narrative success, Hendricks’s excellent nonfiction debut combines personal and psychological reflections to understand the largest mass desecration in modern American history, in which 339 decomposing bodies were found in February 2002 on the overgrown premises of the Tri-State Crematory in rural north Georgia. Seven years after the death of Hendricks’s father, he had been disinterred by his widow—who had developed a phobia about being buried in the ground—and sent to Tri-State to be cremated before being sent to New Mexico to be scattered over the mountains with her upon her death. As Hendricks recounts his traveling to Tri-State to find out if, in fact, his father was actually one of the bodies found there, he finds himself musing over a range of issues: his troubled relationship with his father and the irony of Tri-State being “the final place of unrest for a restless man”; his own “predisposition to prophetic revelation and doomsday excitability” that leads him to see the world around him as if “[E]verything was disturbed ground”; and a final epiphany that the idea of his father “animated and engaged, rising from the unhappy earth” can help him to a new kind of living “that would not draw me away from this world but would bring me back here.” (Mar.)
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