Death, romance, the afterlife and fantasy combine in the cult novel.
As an epilogist, Ben Mendelssohn appreciates an unexpected ending. But when that denouement is the untimely demise of his beloved wife, Ben is incapable of coping. Marian was more than his life partner; she was the fiber that held together all that he is. And Ben is willing to do anything, even enter the unknown beyond, if it means a chance to be with her again.
One bullet to the brain later, Ben is in the Other World, where he discovers a vast and curiously secular existence utterly unlike anything he could have imagined: a realm of sprawling cities where the deceased of every age live an eternal second life, and where forests of family trees are tended by mysterious humans who never lived in the previous world. But Ben cannot find Marian.
Desperate for a reunion, he enlists an unconventional afterlife investigator to track her down, little knowing that his search is entangled in events that continue to unfold in the world of the living. It is a search that confronts Ben with one heart-rending shock after another; with the best and worst of human nature; with the resilience and fragility of love; and with truths that will haunt him through eternity.
Some fifteen months after Marian lost her life under bizarre aeronautical circumstances, her husband decided to celebrate her fortieth birthday. Their old friends, well aware of the couple's love for one another, were not surprised to find, amid the daily monotony of their mail, an invitation to the home of the live husband and the late wife. They also knew that he had yet to have his final word on the matter, and that, beneath the emotional prattle and the love-soaked murmurs, Ben Mendelssohn was a man of action. His friends, put at ease by the invitation, saw the party as classic Mendelssohn, which is to say a come-as-you-are, be-ready-for-anything affair. After all, Ben paid the bills with his imagination, crafting surprise endings for a living. Writers of screenplays, writers at the dawn and dusk of their careers, letter writers, graphomaniacs, poets, drafters of Last Wills and Testamentsall used the services of Ben Mendelssohn, righter. In intellectual ...
Who would think dying would be so much fun! Ofir Touché Gafla shows us how the touching, hilarious, and poignant human comedy continues on the other side - but a comedy finally faced with open eyes; one that reveals, as a mirror, the truth of our own lives here and now. Gafla's deep laughter is always tempered by compassion. His satirical, sometimes farcical depictions of the joys and hazards of life and of death often bring us closer to tears than a smile.
(Reviewed by Bob Sauerbrey).
Full Review (755 words).
Mythic expression is humanity's first language. These myths, or to use a more contemporary synonym, metanarratives, are the stories that give purpose and meaning to a people, a way of understanding the seemingly random occurrences in the lives of individuals and communities. Whether these are expressed in clay statues, paintings on cave walls, or mutually intelligible symbols such as words, each is a vision of the world and of the place of humanity within it.
Some have dismissed these stories as "early science," which has been superseded by rational understandings of the working of nature, of life, and of the psyche. However, myth actually remains foundational to all our knowledge, even to the most objective scientific explorations, ...
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From NYT bestselling author Ann Leary
The captivating story of an unconventional New England family.
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