A Traveller Came By: Stories About Dying
This is a collection of ten stories by one of Canada’s foremost fiction writers, designed to be a
bedside book for people living with death. In his challenging, affirmative introduction Seán Virgo
suggests: We prepare best for death, surely by loving life. He refuses to accept the taboos and terrors
which Western societies have erected around death: Dying people are vitally concerned with life, if
they’re allowed. They are not lepers, or saints, or objects. And if they need stories about Death,
too, it must be because the folklore of Death has withered — gone down in the twentieth-century with
so many other dialects. Even humour, mankind’s dance with taboo, has failed in this area for most of us.
And with that dialect has been lost the sense of relationship with the dead that I’ve envied in older
cultures. These stories express the full range of that dialect, from heartbreak to raunchy comedy,
with more than a few speculations about what lies across the border to “the undiscovered country”. Seán
Virgo was born in Malta, and grew up in South Africa, Malaya, Ireland and the U.K. He immigrated to
Canada in 1966. He is the author of a number of acclaimed poetry and fiction publications.