(I realize that my response here comes after thirteen years when it was first posted. The sense of immediacy is obviously lost. So this is for you, dear reader. Make of it what you will.)
Like Ms. Colgan, I too was moved by the hauntingly beautiful images presented in this book, but her wish to be buried on Hart Island is, well, misguided. Located at the nadir of fate itself, Hart Island is where those who were at the fringe of our collective consciousness are slated to be erased from our collective memory. Their unfinished reckonings hang in the air like soggy laundry.
Despite what Ms. Colgan says, *Hart Island* should not be seen as a tribute to all the islands surrounding Manhattan. Each has its own history, and despite the wistful thoughts Hart Island may inspire, it is but a dismal burial ground for our discarded dead. Its present incarnation makes Hart Island Death's everlasting insult to injury.
On a brighter note, however, Ms. Hunt's important book does impart a lesson for us the living, albeit indirectly. That is, to ensure a measure of cosmic peace and not just anonymity it is necessary first to live a purposeful and well-examined life, appreciate your blessings before it's too late, demonstrate civility and humanity, and strive to make a difference whenever and wherever possible.