Mr. Mercedes Journal #4: Funerals

Mr. Mercedes is a tough book to journal through because it's full of surprises, twists and unexpected turns.  You just kind of have to be there.  The story absolutely blindsided me -- more than once.  I find myself going, "I never saw that coming!"

There is a lot of funeral  talk in Mr. Mercedes. In fact, the last time King gave us a story that edged up this close to funerals was Pet Sematary.  Of course, Pet Sematary took things to a whole new messed up level, as Creed actually went to the cemetery and dug up his dead son.

So, here's some funeral notes. . .

  • I think it's interesting that King says the preacher used the Proverbs 31 text (the virtuous woman) as his sermon for the funeral.  That would indeed be a strange text to discuss the dead.  And King's perception is right on when he notes that it is uncomfortable when preachers try to eulogize people they don't know.  Best to just stick to preaching and giving comfort.

  • Perhaps one of the strangest customs we have is something called a "wake" in the South and a viewing other places.  At a viewing people come to view a dead body and give their goodbye.  From my chair, I think it's perhaps one of the most painful customs we ask mourning families to endure.  Second most painful custom has to be an open casket at a funeral.  This is pretty pointless, since most people are there to remember the person, discuss the hope of heaven and love on the grieving family.  Some funerals have a period at the end when people walk by the dead body to pay final respects.  

  • One objection raised by a family member is that cremation is unethical.  Of course, there are some who hold that view -- but I haven't met them.  Most people I encounter are pretty confused about what religion, and in particular Scripture, says about burial.  The truth is, there are no commands about burial methods, and no prohibitions to cremation.  So characters, such as we find in Mr. Mercedes, who are strongly against the practice are because of personal opinion, not Biblical scholarship.  
Speaking of funerals and Mr. Mercedes, check out this review,

1 comment:

  1. I hear what you say about the trials that can attend an open casket Wake or funeral.

    You mention Pet Semetary, and what's interesting about that is that King said it's the one novel he's written where he feels he went to far.

    Therefore, it's interesting to bear those thoughts in mind when reading the words King used to describe his upcoming Revival.

    King: "It’s too scary. I don’t even want to think about that book anymore. It’s a nasty, dark piece of work. That’s all I can tell you."

    The Lilja's Library link for the quote can be found here:

    What's interesting to note about that quote is that he's using roughly the same words as those use used to describe Pet Semetary.

    Also, from what I can gather from the official synopses, Revival may be a rekindling of the kind of religious concerns King tackled in Green Mile and Desperation, and one of the main characters is said to be a preacher.

    Together these two facts make me wonder, are we in store for a novel that mixes the spiritual concerns of Mile and Desperation, with existential horrors of Semetary? These are just suppositions at this time, however it is some interesting food for thought.