Thursday, February 4, 2010
CBR Book#23: The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
The premise of this book is quite intriguing. As long as there is someone alive who remembers who you are, you will live in The City with other dead people after you pass away. When there is no one left with memories of you, you will leave The City of the dead and move on. On to what, this book does not address. It sounds like a beautiful way to view the afterlife and the dead seem to be happy in The City. Happy until some of them disappear due to a deadly virus sweeping the Earth.
Laura Byrd works for Coca-Cola and has been sent to Antarctica to study wildlife for the company. She is alive. She is in Antarctica with polar specialist Michael Puckett and soft drink specialist Robert Joyce. The six month expedition is protracted when contact with Coca-Cola is lost. Joyce and Puckett set out to find another team of specialists in hopes of using their radio. When the men do not return, Laura decides to find them and sets off into the below-freezing temperatures.
The two stories seem to have no connection when you begin reading Brockmeier's novel. His writing is enchanting and I quite enjoyed it. There were times when I couldn't figure out why Brockmeier was naming some characters and spending time with them only to move on to someone else before a purpose had been shown. Eventually all of the threads converge and there is a payoff, but it might be difficult to stick with it if you don't enjoy the author's style. I don't want to analyze what was being said and how it altered my perceptions of life and death, if at all, because it should speak to each person in a different way. Thanks to MelBivDevoe for the recommendation!