In the Land of Long Fingernails: A Gravedigger in the Age of Aquarius

Front Cover
Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 240 pages
1 Review

In the summer of 1969, Charlie Wilkins was a young man in search of a job. Turned down by a dozen potential employers--including Shubang Used Tire and Dick’s Nifty Car Wash--Wilkins landed an unlikely job at a vast corporate cemetery as a "bone waxer,” handling "bird-houses” (urns), and earning an invaluable education about life as a caregiver in death.

From reckless disinterments, to a mid-summer gravediggers’ strike, to the illegal shifting of bones from untended graves, In the Land of Long Fingernails is a coming-of-age story among extraordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. It offers up a Barnum-esque cavalcade of "slay carpenters,” "dirt nappers,” mavericks and misfits, shifty plot salesmen, and drug-addled gravediggers, yet it also shows us their uncertainty and superstitions, and their relentless gallows humor amid the inevitable reminders of what it is, finally, to be human.

In the funny and dark spirit of Thomas Lynch’s best-selling The Undertaking, Mary Roach’s hit Stiff, and Six Feet Under, In the Land of Long Fingernails is a testament not just to unexpected friendship but also to late sixties culture, and to the art and power of storytelling.

What people are saying - Write a review

IN THE LAND OF LONG FINGERNAILS: A Gravedigger in the Age of Aquarius

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An often funny, yucky examination of how the dead can affect our lives.For a few months in 1969, Wilkins worked in Toronto digging graves for Willowlawn Everlasting Inc. The experience had a profound ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - picardyrose - LibraryThing

A feckless youth grows tiresome. Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2009)

Charles Wilkins lives near Lake Superior in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He is the author of over a dozen books.

Bibliographic information