Monday, April 23, 2007

A Brief History of the Dead

I spent the better part of Sunday devouring "A Brief History of the Dead" by Kevin Brockmeier. It's a sci-fi book based on the idea that when we die, we go to an in-between place for as long as people still live who remember us. When the last person who remembers us dies, we finally go to the final place. It's also about a future society that is hit by a huge deadly virus.

I found myself fascinated, and at turns sad and hopeful as I read it. It's beautifully written too, I got a very strong sense of setting and poetic language. At only 272 fairly small pages, it's a pretty quick read. I think I want to read it again though, just cause it was so evocative. Sometimes being too eager for plot developments, I find myself impatiently skimming the slower, descriptive parts, which is kind of a shame. It's like chugging an exquisite wine just to get drunk.

Added: Oh, and I also meant to mention that for a couple days after finishing this book, I kept thinking about all the people I know that I would be sustaining in the afterlife. I couldn't help but keep thinking of more people to add to my list. Like, that girl from kindergarten whose birthday party I went to. Or, the person I saw get injured in the tilt-a-whirl at the fair when I was 8. Or, the cashier I kind of got to know at the local market around the corner from my house in 2000. How many people do I know? Does it count if I can't think of them right now, but if the right set of circumstances came up I could remember them? Do they have to know me too?

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