"If Raymond Chandler had written a memoir, I could imagine it reading like this." -- Mary Roach
First published in hardcover in 2008, In the Land of Long Fingernails was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Prize, the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and the Toronto Book Awards.
During the hazy summer of 1969, Charles Wilkins, then a university student, took a job as a gravedigger in a vast corporate cemetery in the east end of Toronto. The bizarre but true events of that time -- a midsummer gravediggers' strike, the unearthing of a victim of an unsolved murder, and a little illegal bone shifting -- play out among a Barnum-esque parade of mavericks and misfits in this macabre and hilarious memoir.
Amid relentless gallows humour and the inevitable reminders of what it is, finally, to be human, Wilkins provides an unforgettable insider's view of a morbidly fascinating industry. In the Land of Long Fingernails is a story of mortality, materialism, friendship, and sexuality -- and the gradual coming of age of an impressionable young man.
"[Wilkins's] strange-but-true memoir...will fascinate, disturb and most certainly entertain." -- Publishers Weekly