Monday, February 10, 2014

Some bright morning

Imagine a city where the dead go.

They don’t stay there forever. The city isn’t heaven or hell. They are not punished for their sins or rewarded for their goodness.  It’s just where dead people are so long as someone alive still remembers them. 

Their lives in the city are just like their lives were before they died - they have homes and jobs and businesses; they eat dinner and take walks. No one knows why. They’re just there, until the last person who remembers them dies; and then they’re gone.

The city is the setting of Kevin Brockmeier’s haunting novel The Brief History of the Dead, a book that depicts the end of the world, but isn’t about the end of the world. It explores the relationship between the city of the dead and the world of the living, how they're intertwined, and what happens to one when calamity strikes the other.

I realize that description is more than a little vague; sorry. But this book is so beautiful and strange, I think you should discover its lovely, sad surprises for yourself. Pick up The Brief History of the Dead sometime; it’s wonderful.

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