Winter and spring 2009 Kristopher Schau decided to visit communal funerals in Oslo, funerals which for various reasons:
But what if there’s not a single person present at the funeral?
It’s one thing that there aren’t any hugs and anecdotes afterwards and that no one sits there fighting back tears while the priest goes through his routines, but what is actually going on? Is there anything happening? Is there anything? After all somebody has passed away.
A life has ceased to exist, but there’s nobody there to say goodbye.
Is it anything more that a great empathetic black hole where society has been left to do the grieving for us? Where the nation takes care of the practical details. And then there’s nothing else left. Practicalities.
That was the only reason. I wanted to find out what this was, and I wanted to be there.
English sample translation available
“A sober and sympathetic book about death, loneliness and the art of going to funerals … And it’s entertaining all the way through. Because Schau gives the symbolically laden situations room to be both absurd, tragicomic and sad at the same time.”
“With precision and great care for details, [Schau] records the lonely funeral from various angles and contexts … It is a warm and empathetic text Schau has written, precise, but never cold and distanced. Searching and reflecting, but never “wise” and dry.”
“Touching and personal … Schau has written a beautiful little book …
This is gonzo-journalism on rubber soles.”