Cover image - The Undiscovered Country

The Undiscovered Country
Conversations about death and dying

Mary Brown, with a foreword by Kate Cairns

In today’s society, death has become sanitised and distant, happening away from us in hospitals, mortuaries and funeral homes, or is experienced vicariously and trivialised through television or films. Previously part of everyday life and surrounded by sacred rituals, death seems to have become something dark and frightening, to be largely ignored until we are forced to encounter it directly.

Mary Brown confronts the taboos surrounding death by talking to those who have lost loved ones and to those who work with the dying and their families. In doing so, she brings out their unique experiences of and perspectives on death and shows that it is not something to fear, but part of life, to be acknowledged and discussed openly.

About the author

Mary is a Quaker in her 80s. At the age of 75 she had open heart surgery. Before agreeing to the operation she spent some time considering whether to let nature take its course: perhaps the time had come for her life to end. Eventually she chose to live, but this time of contemplating death was valuable. She felt she needed to talk to others about death and dying, which led to the conversations on which this book is based.

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