Utne Blogs > Literature

Obituaries Go Literary

by Katie Christian 

Tags: Great Writing, obituaries, death, The Smart Set,

Obituaries have come a long way from the no-nonsense, just-the-facts-ma’am death notices of old. People now view life as a never-ending story, Stefany Anne Golberg writes in the Smart Set, and modern obituaries reflect that literary shift. The obits are now more like tales condensed out of lives that are invariably messy, sprawling, and chaotic.

“An obituary, any obituary, transforms lives into stories, with interesting characters, a cohesive plot, and most importantly, a good ending. This is what we’ve got as humans—not the ability to understand or be at one with death, but the ability to generate lots of stupid crap to fill in the empty space of the unknown.”

Sources: The Smart Set