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Keen imagines that the ancient Irish custom of hiring women to mourn at funerals has continued into the modern day, and follows the most famous keener in world, Maeve McNamara, during the height of her career. Told in a plural first-person point of view, this book follows the group of people who adore Maeve. Through watching Maeve perform mourning, this collective voice thinks about grief, fame, community, and what we can know about ourselves and others. When a prot g appears and asks Maeve to train her, ideas about race and gender-and ideas about who belongs to what communities, and the tradition of the art of lamentation-all begin to shift and swerve. A hybrid novel/ars poetica/autobiographical essay, Keen attempts to grapple with lineage and innovation, heritage, and what no longer serves us.