Review of ‘A Tomb With a View’ by Peter Ross

A surprising, respectful and literary exploration of graveyards and tombs, covering locations in England, Ireland, Scotland and France. It’s a beautifully-written narrative which is best read a little at a time, partly because it’s so densely packed with ideas and emotions, partly because the subject may not always feel appropriate to one’s mood. I bought this book from Waterstones in early 2021, which was my first trip to the bookshop since everything cautiously reopened after months of forced closure due to you-know-what. It then sat on my shelf for two years until it finally felt like the right time to read it.

Book cover of A Tomb with a View by Peter Ross

I appreciated the diversity of the content. Commonwealth war graves, rare ossuaries, Muslim funerals, unconsecrated outcasts, unusual memorials and even a graveyard wedding are included. Every chapter had many observations for the reader to muse upon, ensuring a worthwhile reading experience. The tone does aim to see light in the darkness while exploring how we remember and honour the dead, although it’s not particularly consoling or uplifting. The author has quite an eccentric writing style which I occasionally found too flowery. There are some evocative black and white photographs included.

Recommended, providing that you’re in the right frame of mind to read it.

First published in 2020 by Headline, this edition 2021.

2 thoughts on “Review of ‘A Tomb With a View’ by Peter Ross”

  1. Sounds similar to my current read, These Silent Mansions. Although the author of this one is a poet and her writing beautiful and poetic with touches of sadness and joy. I’d definitely read this one though!

    1. This isn’t the first book I’ve read on the topic and won’t be my last, there is something so compelling about these beautifully written books.

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