Six Feet Over, By Mary Roach
Sunday 13 April 2008
Those who subscribe to the lazy cliché that Americans have no sense of irony should read Six Feet Over and think again.
Roach, a Californian, sets out to discover whether there is any proof for any form of life after death. In a Bryson-esque tour that takes her to India, England and around the US, she interviews oddballs, enthusiasts, eccentrics and experts on such phenomena as reincarnation, ghosts, soul-weighing, the production of ectoplasm, messages from beyond the grave, and near-death experiences.
The book is full of fascinating nuggets – it might theoretically be possible to weigh a thought, for instance – and each claim is subjected to rational analysis and deflating irony. Occasionally, the tone is over-flippant – one wishes she wouldn't dig the reader in the ribs quite so much – but overall this a funny and informative read. By the end, Roach has decided she believes in ghosts. But I think she's being ironic.
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
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