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The Brief History of the Dead

Brockmeier, Kevin (Book - 2006 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Brief History of the Dead

Item Details

Authors: Brockmeier, Kevin
Title: The brief history of the dead
Publisher: New York :, Pantheon Books,, c2006
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 252 p. ;,22 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Kevin Brockmeier
ISBN: 0375423699
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Report This Jan 28, 2014
  • waltzingechidna rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I can't add anything to what has been written below without giving too much away. I will say that this book is simply, delicately, and yet vividly written, and that it's compelling and devastating. It's not exactly science fiction, though it contains strong elements of SF. It's certainly speculative fiction. Metaphysical fiction, maybe? If you need to know up front precisely what is happening and why, you'll probably want to avoid this book. If you can tolerate some ambiguity as you watch a world being built brushstroke by brushstroke, and being more and more shaken as you proceed, pick this one up.

Report This Aug 10, 2013
  • JeremiahSutherland rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

A completely pointless book. It has an interesting premise; the world is being depopulated by a military virus and the dead exist in an alternate city as long as someone who remembers them is alive. This is an example of an "auteur" who is more interested in plumbing the depths of his characters' psyche than writing an actual plot.

"In "the city," the afterlife inhabited by the recently dead (they remain there only as long as they are remembered by someone still alive), the transient population undergoes rapid change as a deadly virus decimates the living. Soon the city is nearly empty and only a handful remain - the parents, friends, acquaintances and former lovers of a woman named Laura, stranded in an Antarctic research station. In chapters alternating between Laura, struggling for survival, and those in the city as they attempt to build new lives, Kevin Brockmeier reflects on human relationships in a "beautiful, delicate manner" (Publishers Weekly)." May 2013 Fiction A to Z newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=635711

Report This Jul 14, 2012
  • Wodge rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I truly enjoyed this tale; the writing is lovely, clear, and crafted. The story itself unfolds in an unhurried but fascinating plot line. I was not bored. It reminded me, in his way, of the novel "Death of an Ordinary Man" by Glen Duncan. Here's a story that explores the "afterlife" using the idea found in some non-Judeo-Christian belief systems. It gives a bit of a different perspective and one that is key to the plot. The writing is unhurried even though the pacing is not. I found myself eager to keep reading and the calm, measured voice of the writer encouraged me along without raising my blood pressure the way a thriller might. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.

Report This Jul 27, 2011
  • cori_s rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Gorgeous writing, compelling and with a simple, but unique plot. I can't tell too much without giving it away, but it's simply amazing. If you like this, try Sum: Tales of the Afterlife.

Report This Jul 19, 2011
  • KarenW rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Laura Byrd knew a lot of people and these people, when felled by a world wide virus, are glad that she did! They are all sent to a city before they can move on to the next place, whatever that will be. And since they only stay as long as Laura remembers them, then Laura must be the last surviving person on earth. What will happen to them when she goes? A thought provoking and truly unique look at life and death.

Report This Feb 15, 2011
  • KimBaker rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

In “The City”, a metropolis inhabited by the recently departed, life continues much as it did when the residents were alive until a global viral epidemic on earth causes millions to disappear. The remaining people soon learn that they have one thing in common – they all exist in the memory of Laura Byrd, a Coca-Cola scientist who has been stranded by the epidemic during a research expedition in Antarctica. As Laura struggles to remain alive in a barren and inhospitable landscape, those who still exist in The City wonder how long they too will remain and what comes after death.

Report This Jul 26, 2010
  • DianaR1959 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book reminds me very much of a cross between "Master and Margarita" and Albert Camus "The Plague". I love this quiet little tale of the afterlife. Where do we go and as long as there is a memory of us do we continue to exist. Bittersweet.


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