The Chick and the Dead: Life and Death Behind Mortuary Doors

December 5, 2020
The Chick and the Dead: Life and Death Behind Mortuary Doors

Carla Valentine works with the dead. After studying forensics,she assisted pathologists with post-mortems for years beforebecoming the curator of the world's most famous pathology museum.When it comes to death, she truly is an expert, and in this bookshe shares that expertise.Using the most common post-mortem process as the backbone of thenarrative, The Chick and the Dead takes the reader throughthe process of an autopsy while also describing the history andchanging cultures of our relationship with the dead. The book isfull of vivid insight into what happens to our bodies in the end.Each chapter considers an aspect of an autopsy alongside an aspectof Carla's own life and work and touches on some of the morecontroversial aspects of our feelings towards death, including therelationship between sex and death and our attitudes toward humantissue collection.Starting with the first cut, we move from external examinationinto the body itself, discovering more about the heart, stomach andbrain, and into dismembered and reconstructed bodies, at each stagetaking a colorful detour into the question of what these things canteach us about the living. Join Carla on the journey frommicroscope-requesting nine-year-old to pathology educator and deathengager at a Victorian museum (a journey made via around 5,000autopsies) as she tells the story of exactly what it's like to livea life immersed in death.