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“I stopped being funny the day my wife was electrocuted by her underwire bra.” So begins “Aftermirth,” a dark comedy that explores the absurdity of death through the eyes of thirty-one-year-old comedian, writer, and actor, Michael Larssen. What is horribly funny to the rest of the world is devastating to Michael, who loves his wife deeply, especially her bright, rippling, abandoned laughter, which captivated him from the first time he ever heard it. In the aftermath of her death, he loses his sense of humor, and his career along with it.
Then, after two years of mourning her, he sees an article in the paper about a factory worker named Julio Santiago who fell into a giant vat of dough and was kneaded to death. For reasons Michael doesn’t understand, he decides to go to the man’s wake. There he meets and bonds with Julio’s twenty-nine-year-old daughter Elena, a law student who is reeling from her father’s unexpected and preposterous death.
Three months later, she calls him out of the blue and suggests that the two of them drive to North Carolina to speak with another survivor like themselves Elena has found on the Internet. Their road trip is a darkly funny journey of healing that takes them deep into the heart of their grief and others’, and then beyond it, to a place of peace and laughter.
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Author: Hillary Jordan