Summary and book reviews of The World of the End by Ofir Touche Gafla

The World of the End

by Ofir Touche Gafla

The World of the End by Ofir Touche Gafla X
The World of the End by Ofir Touche Gafla
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2013, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2014, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bob Sauerbrey
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About this Book

Book Summary

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.

1
The End

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 Testaments—all used the services of Ben Mendelssohn, righter. In intellectual ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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).

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Media Reviews

Library Journal
Broad themes of life, death, and afterlife, coupled with satiric touches on modern existence and the meaning of religion, make this a major example of literary speculative fiction at its best, with an appeal that crosses genres into mainstream fiction.

Booklist
The infrastructure of the Other World alone is enough to justify picking this book up, and the cast of characters, Ben's heartening but occasionally frustrating confidence, and a story concluded in an open-ended but ultimately satisfying manner make the reading experience a pleasure.

RT Book Reviews
Lyrical and flowing. Gafla creates a rich world of networked characters, both living and dead, and explores how human nature plays a role even in death.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Poignant and funny...part romance, part mystery, and part science fantasy…. Gafla creates an interconnected puzzle of living and dead characters and their stories that will shock, amuse, and illuminate the nature of humans and their inevitable end.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking, handled with sublime assurance, astonishingly inventive, funny and totally fascinating.

Time Out (Israel)
The World of the End is a refreshing, original, and particularly, impressive work...His most prominent ability is the philosophical depth he achieves without being over-smart or getting lost.

Author Blurb Ellen Kushner, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Thomas the Rhymer
Stunning writing, hilarious, and brilliantly translated!

Author Blurb Max Gladstone, author of Three Parts Dead
I've seldom read a book so strange and so assured. Gafla's vivid characters, his matter-of-fact underworld, and his mysteriously interconnected mortal universe confront readers with the awkwardness, desperation, and humor of life and its many endings.

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Beyond the Book

Mythic Fantasy: A Mirror World

30,000 year old cave hyena found in Chauvet CaveMythic 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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