He tells her about cases he remembers. The two young women found in the forest, the drowned boy whose organs were eaten by eels, the casket that caught on fire at the funeral. He reveals the secrets of his profession. The powder that comes in a ketchup-sized packet and is injected into the cheeks for that blushing look, the candle wax used to reconstruct parts of a skull, the perfectly weighted stones in a repatriated soldier's casket.
These are the notes of a life spent facing death, of a daughter trying to make sense of her father. Quietly poetic, The Embalmer glimpses at something most would rather look away from.
Rhonda Mullins is a writer and translator. She received the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for Twenty-One Cardinals, her translation of Jocelyne Saucier's Les héritiers de la mine. And the Birds Rained Down, her translation of Jocelyne Saucier’s Il pleuvait des oiseaux, was a CBC Canada Reads Selection. It was also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, as were her translations of Élise Turcotte’s Guyana and Hervé Fischer’s The Decline of the Hollywood Empire. Rhonda currently lives in Montréal.
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