Finding the Plot: 100 Graves to Visit Before You Die
Graves are a vanishing legacy. Not that graves and gravestones as a tradition are going anywhere; it’s just that time, weather, and vandalism can interfere with what a given person’s grave represents, what it says about that person or his accomplishments, his sense of humor, how he viewed himself, or how those who interred him viewed him.
Ann Treneman contrasts the lives of famous and not-so-famous folks with their grave sites in Finding the Plot, combining a very curious travelogue with a unique glimpse at the history of England and its denizens. From Thomas Crapper to Mary Shelley, she has combed both city and countryside for graves with a story to tell, and she manages to make every last one worth your time.
While some of these folks might be more famous across the pond, I was intrigued by the sheer breadth and depth of history covered in a mere 100 graves. Treneman manages to encompass geographical differences, economic status, history, class, and occupation to offer microcosmic cross-sections of England.
Despite its focus on the dead and gone, Finding the Plot is a book about celebrating life and how final resting places can reflect that.
The Robson Press