Writer: Kevin Brockmeier
The premise: there's a preface/quote that pretty much explains the entire concept of the book, too long to quote here, but to sum it up: there are three stages of life: life on earth, life after death, and a final death. The life after death is an existence that lasts only so long as there's someone on Earth that still remembers you. When there's no one left on Earth who remembers you, you pass on to the final death. So The Brief History of the Dead takes place in a future where a pandemic is wiping out humanity at an alarming rate, and the City which holds everyone after their first death is suddenly brimming and then suddenly nearly empty. The survivors in the City find each other and find their common link: a woman named Laura Byrd, who might be the last human alive on Earth. She's trapped on an Antarctic research station, and her hopes for survival are slim. But as long as she's alive, so are the dead.
Wish I'd Borrowed It: oh, I wanted to like this book so much more than I did, but it wasn't meant to be. I think I've been spoiled by better stories told about the Arctic/Antarctic, as well as just better woven stories period. The sense of wonder is completely smashed because there is no wonder, no surprise, because the reader has it all figured out (not that there's really supposed to be any mystery) before the characters do, and the longer it takes the characters to figure stuff out, the dumber those characters look. This book did not charm or seduce me in anyway, so I'm glad it was as short as it was. I'm not sure I would've kept going if it were longer.
The full review, which includes rather ranty spoilers, may be found in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.
REVIEW: Kevin Brockmeier's THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD
Happy Reading! :)