The Brief History of the Dead

The Brief History of the Dead

3.67 (10,285 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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'A prodigy of imagination, insight and overwhelming tenderness' Independent

'Remember me when I'm gone' just took on a whole new meaning . . .

Laura Byrd is in trouble. Three weeks ago she and her friends found themselves alone in one of the coldest, most remote places on earth. Her friends set out in search of help, and now Laura realises that they are not coming back. So she gathers her remaining supplies and sets out on an extraordinary journey.

Meanwhile in another city, more and more people arrive every day. Each has a different story to tell, but their accounts have one thing in common - it was their final journey. For this is the city of the dead. And the link between this city and Laura's journey lies at the heart of this remarkable novel.

The Brief History of the Dead tells a magical story about our lives - about our place in the world, our connections with each other, and what happens to us all after our deaths. It is a story of spellbinding power and imagination, which resonates long after the final page.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 130 x 198 x 19mm | 192g
  • John Murray Publishers Ltd
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • none
  • 0719568307
  • 9780719568305
  • 222,102

Review Text

'An unearthly literary tale' Bookseller
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Review quote

'Brockmeier's tale of polar hardship is gripping, but this touching novel is more concerned with what it means to confront nothingness, and how small gestures and accidental meetings shape who we are' * James Smart, Guardian * 'Sort of like Lost in a good book . . . Comparison with Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones is inevitable' * USA Today * 'An intriguing take on the afterlife and will encourage you to think about what death means to you' * The Weekly Times * 'The Brief History of the Dead is altogether remarkable' * Good Reading * 'Such is his sensitivity and skill that Brockmeier contrives a mystery that is nonetheless subtle, absorbing and ultimately satisfying.' * Colin Greenland, Guardian * 'Luminous' * The Age * 'Imagery like this abounds so that reading Brockmeier's prose is like eating a plate full of tasty titbits. You are bound to be delighted over and over's entertaining and pleasurable to read.' * Canberra Times * 'Brockmeier is a lyrical yet subtle writer, interested in perplexing teleological questions . . . A powerful read' * Time Out * 'The inventiveness with which the author links (the worlds of the living and the dead) is highly impressive' * Financial Times * 'A genuine page turner' * Derby Evening Telegraph * 'The Brief History of the Dead is more magic realism than science fiction. Brockmeier brings to his book the inquisitive soul of a child. He is a master of the imaginative ponder. His prose is full of whimsy, word play and metaphysical musing. ... evocative and attentive...truly spellbinding' * Weekend Australian * 'The themes...are united with wonderful delicacy . . . A prodigy of imagination, insight and overwhelming tenderness' * Murrough O'Brien, The Independent * 'Interesting and intellectually daring' * New Statesman * 'Such a powerful read' * Time Out * 'A spellbinding novel' * Amy Worth, lead account manager, books, Amazon; Bookseller/ February Booksellers' choice * Brockmeier investigates our capacity for wonder ... and the result is exacting and perfectly strange * The New Yorker * Unique and spellbinding ... Brockmeier is up to something different * Minneapolis Star Tribune * 'A story of spellbinding power and imagination which resonates long after the final page' * Tangled Web * 'Convincing . . . reflects on relationships in a beautiful, delicate manner' * Publisher's Weekly * 'His confident voice, observational brilliance and playful humour dazzle to the end.' * The Times * 'A moving and unsettling meditation on memories, how recollections of the seemingly trivial can sustain us' * Books Quarterly (Waterstone's) * 'Sure-to-be-acclaimed fiction mixes with travelogue ... Gripping - and moving - stuff.' * Sunday Times Travel Magazine - February 2006 * 'An unearthly literary tale' * Bookseller *
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About Kevin Brockmeier

Kevin Brockmeier lives in Arkansas, USA. His short stories have won many awards. The Brief History of the Dead is his first novel to be published in the UK.
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Rating details

10,285 ratings
3.67 out of 5 stars
5 22% (2,254)
4 37% (3,849)
3 29% (2,950)
2 10% (1,009)
1 2% (223)

Our customer reviews

I loved this book, and I especially loved the way it made me think about life after death and the awful things humans do to each other. I read widely and this is one of the few books I have ever read that went straight in to my list of 'books I will never forget'.show more
by Kris Parlane
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