The Brief History of the Dead
From Kevin Brockmeier, one of this generation’s most inventive young writers, comes a striking new novel about death, life, and the mysterious place in between. The City is inhabited by those who have departed Earth but are still remembered by the living. They will reside in this afterlife until they are completely forgotten. But the City is shrinking, and the residents clearing out. Some of the holdouts, like Luka Sims, who produces the City’s only newspaper, are wondering what exactly is going on. Others, like Coleman Kinzler, believe it is the beginning of the end. Meanwhile, Laura Byrd is trapped in an Antarctic research station, her supplies are running low, her radio finds only static, and the power is failing. With little choice, Laura sets out across the ice to look for help, but time is running out. Kevin Brockmeier alternates these two storylines to create a lyrical and haunting story about love, loss and the power of memory.Synopsis by Goodreads
Surprise! This was the book I posted the Pinterest Pics about last week. now you can see where the mystical city pictures mixed into the Antarctic cold/sledge pics. Basically it was two stories into one, but they were completely dependent on each other.
I don’t want to spoil the end, or the cause of what was changing the City, but it’s kinda huge. I still have goosebumps when the author describes how huge new neighborhoods were popping up in the City and people were arriving in trains and buses and flooding the streets and then almost as quickly as they arrived, they were gone. And soon, nearly everyone was gone. Leaving that quickly had to mean that the earth’s population was being completely wiped out.
And for some reason, as I watched Laura try to survive and put the pieces together on what had happened, I kept thinking it was going to go into a horror/Stephen King thing with some monster or zombie-like person out to attack her. I held my breath through several parts, that is for sure.
This book is a quick read, and isn’t a fun sit-at-the-beach summer read. I find myself STILL thinking about it a week later and wondering how it could have ended, and where it could have gone. It wasn’t hopeless or depressing, exactly, but it was definitely thought-provoking and heartfelt. It’s been said how lyrical the writing it. I’m not sure if it’s as lyrical as some of the other books I’ve read, but the flow was great. The ‘prettiest’ parts were how each characters in the City described how they died. The marbles in one of the Pinterest pictures was a nod to that.
If you’re tired of some of the same old love triangle/supernatural/YA stuff and want to dust off the old thinking caps for a philosophical apocalyptic fiction…this would be a great place to start!
PS. On a personal-note, it has been a pleasure to read and review for the Bookworms these past two and a half years. I know Danny, Pushy and Heather will keep you all entertained while I launch a brick-and-mortar store in the next month along-side my internet business (Doula and Retail services for baby/mama products). I’ll always be up til 2am reading, but my time for blogging has come to an end (for books, anyway!) I wish you lots of love and happy reading! xox
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