Saturday, May 08, 2010


Stiff was quite a fun read. I really liked the other Mary Roach I'd read, Six Feet Over, so was very much looking forward to this book when I found it at a charity shop.

It's a fascinating if macabre look at what we do with corpses. The only criticism I have is that Roach's humour was a bit more hit-and-miss in this book and her shock threshold (or expectation of her readers' shock threshold) is a good bit lower than mine is. I imagine a lot of her readers' actually is higher than she assumes, given they'd presumably be aware of the subject matter when they chose to read the book. I don't know, some of her attitudes seemed quite parochial, and I couldn't decide whether that was her catering to her audience, as she thought, or her real attitude.

Still, it was good fun, grisly at times and there's lot more variety to a cadaver's after-life* than I'd previously been aware of.

* as it were.


Anonymous said...

I read that years ago. I liked all of it except the bit about experiments on the severed heads of people in the French revolution, it gave me nightmares. Another good book on this sort of subject is "Time of Death" which is all about the way insect experts figured out time of death through the life cycles of beetles, maggots, blowflies etc. Abster x

Mephitis said...

I'll look out for that one, ta :).