Review 23: The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

14 Apr

I like to read high concept books, simply based off of their premise.  In The Brief History of the Dead, we see two parallel stories.  First, are the people living in the space between their life on Earth and whatever comes next.  They believe they only exist in the inbetween for as long as someone on earth remembers them. And second, we see a young woman, living in Antarctica, as the rest of the world dies from a plague.

The premise alone makes the book worth reading. It’s unique, and Brockmeier does a great job exploring the intricacies and logistics of how this type of passing on would actually work. And the descriptions of how people slide from their earthly life into the next are amazing, beautiful, incredibly creative.

What really struck a chord with me is the idea of trying to figure out how many people you know, or are acquainted with.  We can catalog our lives much easier with social networking, but beyond your 500 or 1,000 Facebook friends are probably 10,000 other people you’ve met at some point in your life.  Every UPS person you ever signed for a package from.  The woman who does your nails, and all of her coworkers she gossips with in the salon. Your acquaintance’s grandmother who you only met one time at their wedding. Thinking about the seemingly never ending web of connections you make during your life was interesting, and I started wondering how many people would be surviving in the in between space if I were the only person left on earth. And it made me want to reach out more.

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2 Responses to “Review 23: The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier”

  1. roxploration April 14, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    I just stumbled across this post and thought I’d say hello! I read this novel last year and was haunted by that central concept of connection and memory just like you describe. It’s such a a powerful premise.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR5 Review #23: The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier | Cannonball Read V - April 14, 2013

    […] What really struck a chord with me is the idea of trying to figure out how many people you know, or are acquainted with.  We can catalog our lives much easier with social networking, but beyond your 500 or 1,000 Facebook friends are probably 10,000 other people you’ve met at some point in your life.   […]

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