'Ridiculously good' (New York Times) author Thomas Pierce's debut novel is a brilliantly dazzling and poignant love story that answers the question: What happens after we die? (Lots of stuff, it turns out.)
Jim Byrd died. Technically. For a few minutes. The diagnosis: heart attack at age thirty. Revived with no memory of any tunnels, lights or angels, Jim wonders what - if anything - awaits us on the other side.
Then a ghost shows up. Maybe. Jim and his new wife, Annie, find themselves tangling with holograms, psychics, messages from the beyond and a machine that connects the living and the dead. As Jim and Annie journey through history and fumble through faith, they confront the spectre of loss that looms for anyone who dares to fall in love. Funny, fiercely original and gracefully moving, The Afterlives will haunt you. In a good way.
Praise for The Afterlives
'A bracingly intelligent, beautifully rendered meditation on ghosts, technology, marriage, and the afterlife. This is a remarkable novel' Emily St. John Mandel
'Inventive, romantic, and unsettling, The Afterlives is a story of two people who take extraordinary measures to answer the Big Questions: What is the soul? Do we ever really die? Flabbergastingly original and sublimely satisfying' Amity Gaige
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The stories in Pierce's book explore the ordinary in the otherworldly, the surreal in the mundane, and the results are stunning and unpredictable * NPR, praise for The Hall of Small Mammals * Ridiculously good... These stories never drift vaguely off into the ether. They are beautifully built, and their author has an especially deft way of finding just the right final flourish.... [There's a] feeling of being inside a bubble while reading Mr. Pierce, and it is a bubble you won't want to leave... Mr. Pierce's originality, inventiveness, questing spiritual intelligence and animal fixation aren't easy to do justice to in the limited space here. But they're irrefutably good reasons to discover him for yourself * New York Times, praise for Hall of Small Mammals * Wildly imaginative and thought-provoking fun for fans of Dave Eggers * Booklist * Thomas Pierce's fine new novel is often humorous, but Jim Byrd's search to find out what might lie beyond this life makes The Afterlives much more: a poignant inquiry into our human desire for permanence * Ron Rash * Inventive, romantic, and unsettling, The Afterlives is a story of two people who take extraordinary measures to answer the Big Questions: What is the soul? Do we ever really die? Flabbergastingly original and sublimely satisfying * Amity Gaige * Weave[s] science into stories about faith, family, and mysteries of existence. In both, death is still an inescapable fact of life...The Afterlives is as much a dialogue and an attempt at reconciliation between faith and science as it is a contemplation of the opportunities of second chances. * Salon.com * A bracingly intelligent, beautifully rendered meditation on ghosts, technology, marriage, and the afterlife. This is a remarkable novel * Emily St. John Mandel * Thomas Pierce uses a love story to ask the big questions in his debut novel...Through Jim and Annie's experience living in a small, gentrifying town during a moment of technological change, Pierce approaches more anxious topics both far out and everyday: what if we could capture the essence of a dead person in a hologram? What happens when technology can hurt as well as aid? Is it possible to be a good step-parent? Did I marry the right person? The book's pull comes from the mash-up of all the existential concerns a person might face * Vanity Fair * Thomas Pierce's enchanting debut novel, The Afterlives...[is] richly imaginative, quirky.... Pierce's pacing is excellent, and the reader never feels overwhelmed by the increasingly bizarre events in the novel...Pierce also has a gift for memorable and realistic characters... A deeply generous, compassionate book that asks its readers to open their hearts and treat one another with understanding, even as the world grows more complicated, and more unknowable, every day * NPR.org * Thomas Pierce's touching, thought-provoking debut novel * USA Today * This dazzlingly original novel tackles a timeless question - what happens after we die? A hilarious and resplendent story about metaphysics, technology, love, and of course, the afterlife * Chicago Review of Books * Set in America in the near future . . . this funny modern-day ghost story calls to mind Henry James's work . . . [A] highly entertaining read * The Lady * Pierce mines the mysterious rift between fantasy and reality with the intricate skill of an archaeologist and the sheer wonder of an imaginative child * Elle * There are moments in Thomas Pierce's debut The Afterlives that recall the English author Kate Atkinson's award-winning novel Life After Life....It is a hugely inventive and enjoyable journey into the unknown. What makes the novel so successful is a believable near-future whose advances seem only a few steps away from where we are today...Captivating * The Irish Times * Fascinating...His work has a quirky sensibility that recalls Lorrie Moore or George Saunders, an ability to bring the unquestionably weird into the path of daily life without every seeming forced...Pierce's confident story-telling and fine characterisation mean that we always feel in safe hands...The Afterlives - like Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black, or Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife - will raise the hairs on the back of your neck and remind you that another world may be just a heartbeat away * Erica Wagner, Financial Times *