In the summer of 1969, Charlie Wilkins was a young man in search ofa job. Turned down by a dozen potential employers--including ShubangUsed Tire and Dick's Nifty Car Wash--Wilkins landed an unlikely job at avast corporate cemetery as a "bone waxer," handling "bird-houses"(urns), and earning an invaluable education about life as a caregiverin death.
From reckless disinterments, to a mid-summergravediggers' strike, to the illegal shifting of bones from untendedgraves, In the Land of Long Fingernails is a coming-of-age story amongextraordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. It offers up aBarnum-esque cavalcade of "slay carpenters," "dirt nappers," mavericksand misfits, shifty plot salesmen, and drug-addled gravediggers, yet italso shows us their uncertainty and superstitions, and theirrelentless 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.