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The Brief History of the Dead | [Kevin Brockmeier]

The Brief History of the Dead

All residents of the City have recently died, and they will remain in the City only as long as someone still living on Earth remembers them. On Earth, however, the population has been devastated by a terrible pandemic. Laura Byrd, isolated at an Antarctic research station, may be the only person to have survived the pandemic. But she's running out of time and supplies, and her memories are fading.
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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning author Kevin Brockmeier delivers a spellbinding, supernatural tale of love, memories, and human connection. All residents of the City have recently died, and they will remain in the City only as long as someone still living on Earth remembers them. On Earth, however, the population has been devastated by a terrible pandemic. Laura Byrd, isolated at an Antarctic research station, may be the only person to have survived the pandemic. But she's running out of time and supplies, and her memories are fading.

Brilliant in concept and execution, The Brief History of the Dead is a spectacular achievement that lingers in the mind long after the final word.

©2006 Kevin Brockmeier; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Beautiful, delicate." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (201 )
5 star
 (43)
4 star
 (61)
3 star
 (62)
2 star
 (24)
1 star
 (11)
Overall
3.8 (46 )
5 star
 (15)
4 star
 (13)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.1 (47 )
5 star
 (18)
4 star
 (21)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
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  •  
    Audrey Austin, TX, USA 09-28-09
    Audrey Austin, TX, USA 09-28-09 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Can't wait to hear it again."

    Finally, a truly great post-apocalyptic novel that manages to be about so much more than the nuts and bolts of the gory end of man. The premise is really fresh and the story is told so delicately and carefully that it unfolds like a flower. This book made me look at humankind and the nature of human relationships with a compassion that I had not felt for years.

    About a year ago, I muscled through this novel in one reeeeeally long road trip. It kept me awake and engaged. When I finally reached my destination for the night, I was so bummed that there were 30 minutes left that I ended up listening to the rest of it there in the parking lot, in the same car I'd have paid good money to escape hundreds of miles earlier that day.

    There were a few parts toward the end that I felt were too slow, and have since realized that I was just so curious and impatient to see how it ended that I was giving no respect to the process. Then I found out that when I just *listened* to the language and watched the story coming together in my mind, I was really glad that those parts were there.

    I'm about to read it again. This time, instead of blazing through it, I'm going to take my time. It's worth it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebekkah Queen Creek, AZ, USA 01-15-08
    Rebekkah Queen Creek, AZ, USA 01-15-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Beautifully written"

    This book won't answer any questions about the afterlife - in fact, I walked away with more ideas to ponder, which I appreciate. This is a beautiful showcase of characters and emotions, with a novel concept as a backdrop. I would liked to have seen this concept fleshed out some more, but didn't need it to enjoy the book. Also, I was very pleased with the narrator, who was able to convey the message and emotions without overstepping his role.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melisa 06-06-06
    Melisa 06-06-06 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    162
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    355
    33
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Deserved a better ending"

    This book was intriguing and had me thoroughly absorbed in it right up until the very unsatisfying ending. If it could even be said to have one. Still worth the read, as long as you are not waiting with baited breath to see how it all ends.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, United States 03-28-07
    Julia Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, United States 03-28-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    61
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Where was his editor?"

    What an interesting concept! What a weak result!

    Your questions about the characters and the afterworld(s) are never answered. Loose ends are never tied up. Huge sections are tedious meditations or pointless reminisceses.

    Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Wire 10-09-06
    M. Wire 10-09-06 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    43
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Not for everyone..."

    I can't exactly classify this book for anyone, as it isn't classifiable. It's not sci/fi, it's not really dramatic, it's.. well it just is. it's sort of a slice of life & death.

    Don't expect this to be a thrill ride, but if you let it in, this book will have an ongoing place in your memory; little things will suddenly pop into your head, little details you might not of picked up, but all the sudden their they are.

    I really enjoyed this book, but as I said it’s not for everyone. The narration is some of the best I've ever listened to.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rafael Atlanta, GA, USA 07-01-06
    Rafael Atlanta, GA, USA 07-01-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Just OK"

    First off, I love the narrator's voice. Second, I think there's a lot of story potential and the plot idea is clever. However, I kept waiting for something more substantial to occur. It never happened and the ending was a bit of a disappointment.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zymaze 09-05-07
    Zymaze 09-05-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Dissapointed"

    The book seemed to consist of long, detailed, drawn-out descriptions focusing on minutia with no true plot or direction tying them together. In the end no real questions are answered and nothing is resoloved, which is disappointing since the idea behind the book is clever and novel. So much potential, but ultimately so much of my time was wasted listening to this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 03-09-07
    Scott 03-09-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    59
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Intriguing & enjoyable listen"

    I really enjoyed this book! The concept is facinating and had me from the beginning. However, the ending was disappointing, and felt like the film at the movie theater just broke and no one was around to splice it back together. The characters were rich and there was just the right amount of descriptive detail.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cranberry 11-13-06
    Cranberry 11-13-06 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    85
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    424
    37
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Interesting!"

    I really liked this book. The premise was very interesting and the author did not waste a good idea. Even when the end becomes apparent, it still did not lose any steam. Very interesting and enjoyable book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. McMillen Danville, IL USA 07-07-06
    J. McMillen Danville, IL USA 07-07-06 Listener Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    132
    33
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Not worth it"

    This book never gets going. The writer has put a lot of work into something that is not understandable. Look for something else to spend your time with.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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