The Last Good Funeral of the Year

The Last Good Funeral of the Year

Written by: O’Loughlin, Ed

From Ed O’Loughlin, author of Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Minds of Winter, a pensive and poignant recollection of love, loss, marriage, and the life events that have shaped his identity.

Soon, the lockdown would start. People would die alone, without any proper ceremony. Charlotte’s death would be washed away, the first drop in a downpour. Nobody knew it then, but hers would be the last good funeral of the year. 

It was February 2020 when Ed O’Loughlin unexpectedly heard that Charlotte, a friend from the old days, had just died young and before her time. He realized that he was being led to reappraise his life, his family, and his career as a foreign correspondent and novelist in a new, colder light.

This search for meaning becomes the driving theme of O’Loughlin’s year of confinement. The result is a haunting examination of the author’s early life and love, the journalists and photographers with whom he covered wars in Africa and the Middle East, the suicide of his brother, his new work as an author, a family home on the edge of a graveyard, and the mysteries of memory, aging, and loss. He was suddenly faced with facts that he had been ignoring, that he was getting old, that he wasn’t what he used to be, that his imagination, always over-active, had at some point reversed its direction, switching production from dreams to regrets. 

Moving, funny, and searingly honest, The Last Good Funeral of the Year takes the reader on a circular journey from present to past and back to the present: “Could any true story end any other way?”

From Ed O’Loughlin, author of Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Minds of Winter, a pensive and poignant recollection of love, loss, marriage, and the life events that have shaped his identity.

Soon, the lockdown would start. People would die alone, without any proper ceremony. Charlotte’s death would be washed away, the first drop in a downpour. Nobody knew it then, but hers would be the last good funeral of the year. 

It was February 2020 when Ed O’Loughlin unexpectedly heard that Charlotte, a friend from the old days, had just died young and before her time. He realized that he was being led to reappraise his life, his family, and his career as a foreign correspondent and novelist in a new, colder light.

This search for meaning becomes the driving theme of O’Loughlin’s year of confinement. The result is a haunting examination of the author’s early life and love, the journalists and photographers with whom he covered wars in Africa and the Middle East, the suicide of his brother, his new work as an author, a family home on the edge of a graveyard, and the mysteries of memory, aging, and loss. He was suddenly faced with facts that he had been ignoring, that he was getting old, that he wasn’t what he used to be, that his imagination, always over-active, had at some point reversed its direction, switching production from dreams to regrets. 

Moving, funny, and searingly honest, The Last Good Funeral of the Year takes the reader on a circular journey from present to past and back to the present: “Could any true story end any other way?”

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc — Mar 15, 2022
Specifications 208 pages | 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Written By

ED O’LOUGHLIN is an Irish Canadian author and journalist. He is the author of four novels, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Minds of Winter, the critically acclaimed Toploader, and the Booker Prize–longlisted Not Untrue and Not Unkind. As a journalist, Ed has reported from Africa for several papers, including the Irish Times. He was the Middle East correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age of Melbourne. Ed was born in Toronto and raised in Ireland. He now lives in Dublin with his wife and two children.