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The Loved One

The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh (DB21678) is the classic dark satire—it’s even set at a funeral home. The plot centers around on a bizarre love triangle between a poet/pet mortician, a mortuary cosmetologist, and an embalmer named Mr. Joyboy. The 1948 novel takes place in a Hollywood cemetery, based the very real Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

If you liked The Loved One, check out the following novel:

Elinor Lipman
The Dearly Departed
In this social comedy, Sunny Batten returns to her dreaded New Hampshire hometown when her mother dies, where a look-alike at the funeral could be her half-brother. Family secrets come to light, the village welcomes her back, and she falls in love: satire with a happy ending. Some strong language. 2001.

If you want to learn more about the macabre funeral home industry in America, check out these nonfiction titles:

Jessica Mitford
The American Way of Death
Using documented evidence, the author exposes the funeral industry at a racket, and attacks the public for its complacency. 1963.

Marilyn Johnson
The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stuffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries
Author of Lives in Ruins (DB 80738) examines the work of newspaper obituary writers, a club of sorts to which she has belonged. Profiles fellow obituary writers, discusses the art of writing an obituary, and chronicles a number of the Great Obituary Writers’ International Conferences. 2006.

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