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Death Mask and Eulogy

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  7 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
Nova Coates is a tomb guard late at dog hour in the deep night. He protects a noble house's dead from thieves and wizards. He lives among undertakers, death mask artists, and eulogy poets, until thenobleman's daughter commits suicide.

This inexpensive novelette revels in themes of beauty, madness and the grotesque, from the author of strange books Last Dragon, Never Knew A
Kindle Edition, 32 pages
Published March 29th 2012 (first published April 27th 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I don't read many short stories and this is precisely why. If an author spends time doing such a good job of setting up an interesting scenario, intriguing characters, a credible world all wrapped up in intelligent themes themes I'm going to get a little frustrated when it's all taken away from me so suddenly.

I confess, this also shows how powerful the short story format can be and in this case it shows how effectively and brilliantly McDermott has used the form to entice and tease his readers
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
For Nova Coates, the protagonist of J.M. McDermott's 'Death Mask and Eulogy, a Novelette,' the routine of late nights and isolating work is tedious and repetitive. Contrastingly, for the reader it is a survey of a Catherynne Valente style setting occupied by death mask artists, mythic undertakers, and suicidal eulogy poets.

'Death Mask and Eulogy, a Novelette,' at times reminds of Valente's writing, although its poetic turns of phrase pale slightly in the shadow of the comparison and seem more t
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
A steady 4.5 stars.
Death Mask and Eulogy is a novella set in what I guess is an alternate Italy (or perhaps just some created place) where death mask artists and eulogy writers vie for the best jobs, those of the bourgeoisie. This story follows Nova Coates, a young man who guards the tomb of an upper class family in the catacombs of the city. He is told to never open the tomb for fear of demonic wizards coming for the newly dead.

This is a quick read but worth every moment. I wasn't really sure
Kat Mills
rated it really liked it
May 31, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Nov 11, 2012
Cate Gardner
rated it really liked it
May 24, 2011
rated it it was ok
Aug 11, 2011
J.M. McDermott
Apr 29, 2011 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
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His first novel was plucked from a slush pile and went on to be #6 on's Year's Best SF/F of 2008, shortlisted for a Crawford Prize, and on Locus Magazine's Recommended Reading List for Debuts. His short fiction has appeared in Weird Tales Magazine, Fantasy Magazine, Apex Magazine, and Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, among other places. He has a BA in Creative Writing from the Univers ...more
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