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.
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Poignant and funny, Gafla's Geffen Award winning 2005 novel is part romance, part mystery, and part science fantasy. Ben Mendelssohn is a "righter" who specializes in composing perfect endings for books and movies. When his beloved Marian dies "under bizarre aeronautical circumstances," Ben plans the perfect ending to their romance, killing himself in order to be with her in the afterlife. The Other World is a surprisingly well-ordered place, full of cities of the dead and strange technologies, and managed by the mysterious, almost-human "aliases." Ben finds a slew of relatives the Mendelssohns have an extraordinary death rate but no Marian, so with the help of an eccentric detective of the hereafter he goes on a quest, Orpheus-like, to find her. 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.
The world of the end
Could not put it down!
This is an original, engaging novel that will remain in your thoughts long after you finish it. Engaging characters and original storyline...about love, the afterlife (non religious - don't worry, no preaching) revenge...I absolutely recommend this if you would like something a little more thoughtful in your escapism.