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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
Sort by:
  •  
    Sindi 03-31-06
    Sindi 03-31-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    74
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    228
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    5
    Overall
    "Great listen"

    I really enjoyed this book from beginning to end. It makes you stop to think about all the people you cross paths with daily without really noticing- yet remember. Enjoy!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Henry Jenkins Kirkland, WA 06-29-15
    Henry Jenkins Kirkland, WA 06-29-15 Member Since 2014

    endersc

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Deathly slow book"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Barely a professional novel, this moves at the pace of a snail crossing a sticky floor. Despite much of the novel being a one character show, there's barely any character development. It's hard to even figure out how the author uses all those time-consuming words while accomplishing so little with them. In theory I love the idea of the novel, but wake me up when it's over.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Kevin Brockmeier again?

    No.


    What does Richard Poe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Richard Poe is actually a really good reader. You couldn't completely tell it from this, but I've heard him read books before and he was one of the things that recommended this purchase to me. His voice has a lot of gravitas and feeling to it. Everything he reads sounds smarter because he read it, which suggests how braindead this book must actually be.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger that I wasted the time. Sadness that I spent the money.


    Any additional comments?

    Stay away.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    APRIL SHADY SPRING, WV, United States 06-10-14
    APRIL SHADY SPRING, WV, United States 06-10-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    25
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "When I was 13 I would have loved this."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    If the friend is 13 and under yes I would.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Kevin Brockmeier again?

    maybe.


    How could the performance have been better?

    a little less silly would be nice.


    Do you think The Brief History of the Dead needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    nah. I think we got all the good out of this one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy L. Walters Erda, UT, United States 04-26-12
    Tracy L. Walters Erda, UT, United States 04-26-12 Member Since 2002

    bubbles

    HELPFUL VOTES
    58
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    206
    81
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I loved the cover of this audiobook....."

    .....I found myself looking at it over and over again.....just trying to grasp the whole concept of it....and being one who will read a book because the cover is appealing.....I happily dove into this one. It was very different from what I expected and there were parts I really liked and other parts were just a bit too confusing or bizarre to figure out.

    The City was a great concept of simply being there because of being remembered by those who were still alive. It was a waiting station for the soul before it travels on to the next realm. I just expected more to come of those that knew Laura Byrd the best......that they would become more fleshed out and get to know each other better. There were a few times where I felt like the stories were a bit choppy......not quite complete....because we still had to learn about Laura and her situation.

    The Antarctic expedition was tough and I admired Laura for her tenacity to keep on going despite the extremely difficult circumstances that surrounded her each day....while there were things that were answered about her situation...I felt there was still a vagueness to her story.....especially the last couple of chapters.......they were just a bit to strange to try to understand if she was dead or not.....if she was hallucinating or asleep and dreaming.....

    The ending was a huge disappointment for the fact that it just ended.....and I was left thinking that I must have missed something because it just doesn't feel like it's over yet. I understood what was going to happen.....there was no other way for the story to go......but I think it could have ended a bit more fleshed out and not so abrupt. I liked this book okay but I didn't love it and I don't think I will spend much time thinking about it and that's kind of a bummer for I love when that happens.....a book finds it's way into your heart and mind and you take it with you everywhere.....this just wasn't one of those books for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelli Birmingham, AL, United States 04-01-12
    Kelli Birmingham, AL, United States 04-01-12 Member Since 2015

    Listen on dog walks, commutes and around the house. Welcome virtually any genre but southern fiction holds a special place in my heart.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    82
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    243
    45
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    10
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating Premise"

    This was a reread for me. The premise of the book is so intriguing: a story split between a city of the "living dead" who only remain in the city as long as someone on Earth holds that person in their memory and a wildlife researcher in the Antarctica who may be the only person on Earth who has not yet succumbed to a manmade virus. On my second reading, I did a better job of tracking all the myriad connections between the many living dead and the still-alive wildlife researcher - however tangential those connections might be. What did not happen, however, is a change in my ultimate opinion for the book. I was definitely satisfied but nothing more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linzay Houston, TX, United States 09-11-06
    Linzay Houston, TX, United States 09-11-06 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    86
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "If you have absolutely nothing else to do..."

    I was intriqued by the idea of the after life and kept waiting for something to develop during this story. After 8 hours, it never did develop. I will be far more careful in my future selections. I really felt cheated at the end. Where can I get my 8 hours back?!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barb Schmidt 07-16-06 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Odd and interesting"

    I loved this book, but I guess it isn't for everyone. We've probably all wondered about the "afterlife", as has Kevin Brockmeier, but he has apparently listened to some points of view that are really out there. It's a book I always felt that I was outside of -- actually a reader and not part of the story -- so my own beliefs were never threatened. I enjoyed it a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 04-23-07
    James 04-23-07 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    51
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A long journey to a disappointing end."

    This is a well written story about the connections we all share in life and ultimately in death. I found the story to meander along like a river with a few rapids thrown in but ultimately arriving at a predictable and pointless ending.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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