Synopses & Reviews
A young widow who lusts, a daughter who aches, a shopaholic who hungers...The Joy of Funerals
is a riveting collection that explores the lives of nine young women, each willing to take drastic measures to fill the voids created by longing and loneliness. The first eight face death differently, while the ninth woman Nina ties them all together by attending funerals in her search to connect with others.
Written with raw wit, mordant humor and a uniquely penetrating voice, Strauss turns the spotlight on loss and grief. In the vein of Six Feet Under, this is a provocative look into the inner world of those left behind, and those still holding on.
A collection of interconnected short stories, which began as the "Lives" column in The New York Times Magazine, finds nine thirtysomething women impacted by death in different ways, from a promiscuous widow to a woman who wonders if her departed date was the perfect man. Reader's Guide included. Rep
About the Author
is a lifestyle trend writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times
and many other periodicals. This is her first novel. She lives in New York City.
Reading Group Guide
1. Which story did you ?nd most intriguing and why?
2. Which character did you connect with most and why?
3. Did you feel Strauss was successful at interweaving the stories?
4. In each of the stories, what do you feel Strausss characters are looking for, and do any of them achieve their goals?
5. At the end of “Swimming Without Annette,” do you think Karen has murdered an innocent man or her lovers killer? Why?
6. At the end of “Still Life,” do you feel Natalie jumps or falls? Why?
7. How do you feel about Ninas funeral-attending habit?
8. Why do you think Strausss characters are so lonely?
9. Do you feel funerals are a celebration of someones life or a mourning of their loss? Explain.
10. What role do dreams play in the book?
11. How does the family change as Daddy deteriorates?
12. How have the funerals you have attended been similar or different from those described in the book?