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Country Undertaker

Reminiscences of a bush life

Country Undertaker by Jim Eames
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A rich and generously told reminiscence about growing up in the Australian bush of the 1950s, and the eccentric life of Mick Eames, the country undertaker.

When Mick Eames, footballer and spare parts man, moved his family to Holbrook in the 1940s, he had no idea that the job of town undertaker would fall his way. Instead of immaculately attired attendants and battery-operated lowering devices of the city, Mick Eames' lot was much simpler. He had a hearse that wouldn't start, a couple of four-by-twos and a rather unlikely assortment of funeral assistants, including Kelly O'Brien, the very sociable gravedigger who was known to sleep in the job.

Written with great warmth and gentle humour, The Country Undertaker is as poignant as it is funny. There are no big names or great moments in history; rather a wonderful assortment of bush stories and a whole cast of supporting eccentrics (including the matriarch who insisted her prize bull be chief mourner at her funeral), leaving you quietly nostalgic for an Australia long past.

‘Loud laughter, while reading The Country Undertaker in bed, is a marriage/relationship hazard. Risk it. Jim Eames' voyage around his hard-drinking, ever-entrepreneurial father, Mick, is an utter delight. Snakes in the grave, booze, bonhomie, lethal country footy games and a cast of splendid eccentrics enliven this evocative and unforgettable account of growing up in mid-twentieth century Australia. Damon Runyon eat your heart out!' - Tim Bowden

Allen & Unwin; July 2005
243 pages; ISBN 9781741158946
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Title: Country Undertaker
Author: Jim Eames