Life and death behind mortuary doors
By Carla Valentine
Let Carla Valentine, mortician and curator - the mistress of death and high queen of the specimen jar - tell the truth about, in her words: 'exactly what happens when the mortuary doors swing shut or the lid of the coffin closes.'
A day in the life of Carla Valentine - curator, pathology technician and 'death professional' - is not your average day. She spent ten years training and working as an Anatomical Pathology Technologist: where the mortuary slab was her desk, and that day's corpses her task list.
Past Mortems tells Carla's stories of those years, as well as investigating the body alongside our attitudes towards death - shedding light on what the living can learn from dead and the toll the work can take on the living souls who carry it out. Fascinating and insightful, Past Mortems reveals the truth about what happens when the mortuary doors swing shut or the lid of the coffin closes . . .
Carla Valentine works with the dead: she's your average chick who just happens to know as much about corpses as she does cocktails. After studying forensics, Carla assisted pathologists with post-mortems for years, before eventually becoming the Technical Curator of the world's most famous pathology museum. When it comes to death, she truly is a world-class expert.
- Other details
- Publication date:
06 Apr 2017
- Page count:
A grisly topic, but a glorious read — Mail on Sunday
It is an understatement to say that Valentine is passionate about embracing death . . . Part memoir and part manifesto, Valentine's book lifts the lid on daily life in the mortuary . . . [Valentine] bares her own soul . . . with visceral attention to physical and emotional detail — Wendy Moore, Guardian
a fascinating portrait . . . one seriously intriguing read — Glamour
There are sections of Valentine's writing that fondly brought back my first post-mortem experience. Rather than listening to the pathologist's monologue about coronary arteries, I was mesmerised by the painstaking focus of the APT . . . Valentine succeeds in presenting her trade as a caring one. — Kate Womersley, Spectator