A tunnel, a light, a door. And beyond it...the unimaginable.
Dr. Joanna Lander is a psychologist specializing in near-death experiences. She is about to get help from a new doctor with the power to give her the chance to get as close to death as anyone can.
A brilliant young neurologist, Dr. Richard Wright has come up with a way to manufacture the near-death experience using a psychoactive drug. Joanna’s first NDE is as fascinating as she imagined — so astounding that she knows she must go back, if only to find out why that place is so hauntingly familiar.
But each time Joanna goes under, her sense of dread begins to grow, because part of her already knows why the experience is so familiar, and why she has every reason to be afraid. Yet just when Joanna thinks she understands, she’s in for the biggest surprise of all — a shattering scenario that will keep you feverishly reading until the final climactic page.
©2001 Connie Willis (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
“A true heir to John Donne, Kurt Gödel and Preston Sturges, a wit with a common touch who’s read more great books, and makes better use of them in her work, than two or three lit professors put together.” (Newsday)
“Willis has developed an idea that bears all the authority of a genuine insight: disturbingly plausible, compelling, intensely moving, and ultimately uplifting.” (Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review)
“Thoughtful, often fascinating ... Willis makes Lander’s journeys into the afterworld increasingly frightening and compelling." (Chicago Tribune)
We are a couple who love books and occasionally write reviews. We rarely read the same book so our reviews express our individual opinions.
Not really. There were some interesting sections and some of the characters were likeable, but 30 hours was too long for a story that did not have much of a plot. I have an interest in NDEs but this book dealt with the topic in a very creative but somewhat bizarre manner.
I enjoyed the narration and thought she handled the different voices quite well and made the story more interesting. I don't think I would have kept going with the story if I had been reading a printed book.
Please no. As the whole book seemed to be trying to prove that NDEs were some sort of brain reaction while at the same time also describing the perspective of people who had "passed over" but were still somehow conscious and aware, I can't imagine what sort of crazy follow up plot would allow both these contradictory scenarios to coexist.
Would be willing to try another of Connie Willis's books as lots of reviews suggest her other books are better than this one.
I thought the first 2 parts of the story were a little slow going and repetitive, but the story really picked up at the end.
Checking out Brandon Sanderson's work
I love most of what Connie Willis has written. Interesting, provocative, entertaining. She seems to have lost all that in this book. The audio performance was wonderful - otherwise I would never have made it through this book. The story seems to be confused in what message it is trying to send and confuses reality with dream like events.
This is a book about near death experiences - a dangerous topic in any venue. She brings in the religious and scientific aspects - but never really does anything with them. You are left wondering why you just spent 29 hours of audio book time listening to the book.
Now the performance is great. The reader handles all the characters very well and made it bearable. But I would avoid this book.
This book did not go where I expected at all.
I really liked Connie Willis' Oxford Time Travel series, so I decided to try this one. It's a good story but it's also very different from that series.
The strongest part of this book is the characters. They're well written and realistic. There's also a good mystery about what's actually going on with the near-death experiences that the main character has.
My only criticism is that the book starts to drag around the halfway mark, and doesn't really pick back up until about three quarters of the way through. The last quarter is good, but the book could use a little trimming so that you get there faster.
Not so much. It is so repetitive. I know that is part of the literary device, but I felt like I was trapped in the rat-maze hospital with these people and I just wanted it to be over. I also felt like the "big revelation" wasn't much of a revelation at all.
I have to say, the descriptions were vivid and the characters were relatively well rounded. I enjoyed it but I expected a bit more from the plot line than the endless repetition.
The story seemed to lack a plot.
I really like her time travel books
The narration was the best part of this listening experience.
I hope this is not a trend for Willis.
Better characterization, less circular and ultimately useless internal conversation, more convincing characters
I'm not sure.
1/3 of the book. At least
IF YOU ARE NEW TO CONNIE WILLISI don't know if I can finish this book. I am roughly halfway through - a 15 hour investment in what I sincerely hoped would be a rewarding 30-hour saga. I do not typically quit something once I start, but every hour that goes by with 5 minutes worth of enjoyment is really starting to bug me. I haven't posted many reviews, but felt compelled to warn others. If you've read and enjoyed Connie Willis prior, then you will probably enjoy this book. If you haven't, and - like me - this would be your initial foray into the Connie Willis Experience - listen carefully to the full sample sound byte and decide if you can listen to 20+ hours of this. If I'm to extrapolate her typical style from this title alone, I'd say she is long-winded while still managing to lack adequate characterization. Her characters are frumpish, and it makes me feel as if I'm 30+ years too young to be reading it (i am 37).Maybe the mistake is all mine. I love SciFi of all types, and in my haste to find a new book I recklessly downloaded this one on a quick sample and jacket summary alone. Do yourself a favor - LISTEN TO THE FULL SAMPLE FIRST.
The idea for the story. Ms. Willis has an amazing imagination.
I much preferred Blackout and Doomsday Book. And I thoroughly enjoyed To Say Nothing of the Dog. But this endless tome went on and on. After the first couple of parts it was all gloom, with scene after scene in the same pattern. It should have been cut a good 50 - 100 pages.
When doing Maisie (sp?) - annoying. Otherwise, she was fine.
Only if it got rave reviews.
Maybe if I read the book it would have been a better experience since reading is much faster than listening. But I would love a word count on the word "no." It seems the protagonist said it constantly.
No. The story could have easily been told in 6 hours, but was instead drawn out into 27 long hours. The way the story was told would be similar to sitting down and telling somebody every last detail of everything you did today, including how you had to look for your car keys in your bag, how many voice mails you had (with a review in detail of each, one by one), who you passed on hall on the way to your office, which stairs you took to go visit a colleague, etc., etc., then telling them what you do at the end of the day tomorrow, when about 80% of it is the same as what you did today. Repeat for 27 hours. Yes, I get that this method of storytelling is a relevant metaphor, but it does not merit taking so many hours upon hours to relay this.
The story itself, while being an interesting topic, lacked a solid punch at the end. The big discovery the protagonist makes seems rather obvious and uncreative. The ending was a little too sugar-sweet and happy. Definitely not one of the more interesting reads I've had here. It sure beat "14" at least, but that's not saying much!
I will say that the narrator was excellent.
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