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The Brief History of the Dead Audiobook

The Brief History of the Dead

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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 (214 )
5 star
 (45)
4 star
 (64)
3 star
 (67)
2 star
 (26)
1 star
 (12)
Overall
3.7 (56 )
5 star
 (16)
4 star
 (16)
3 star
 (14)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.1 (57 )
5 star
 (19)
4 star
 (26)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
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  •  
    M. Wire 10-09-06
    M. Wire 10-09-06 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    64
    9
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    FOLLOWING
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    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melisa 06-06-06
    Melisa 06-06-06 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    195
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    403
    53
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    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.

    4 of 4 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
    63
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    19
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rafael Atlanta, GA, USA 07-01-06
    Rafael Atlanta, GA, USA 07-01-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    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.

    3 of 3 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
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zymaze 09-05-07
    Zymaze 09-05-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Austin Witherspoon USA 05-15-16

    Austin W.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Really thought provoking book."

    It's nicely written. Maybe at times it gets a little wordy, but usually not for too long.

    The story is super interesting and really well thought out. There's a lot going on, but never too much to keep track of. A handful of really interesting characters- some dead, some alive - and I couldn't stop listening to the audio book waiting to see how it would all tie together.

    The only downside was that it felt like it was going somewhere, like it was building to some big moment, and it never felt like that moment came. It sort of just ends. It makes sense and everything. You're not left hanging, but it wasn't as big of a moment as maybe I was hoping.

    Still a great story and I'll be telling my friends about it.

    And the audio book was really well narrated.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna M. Tevault Sipsonville, SC 10-08-15
    Anna M. Tevault Sipsonville, SC 10-08-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    64
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting idea, but no plot closure"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The emotional development of the characters was well done, but I felt frustrated with the lack of explanation and retribution in the narrative.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelli Birmingham, AL, United States 04-01-12
    Kelli Birmingham, AL, United States 04-01-12 Member Since 2016

    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
    102
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    285
    45
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    11
    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
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    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 4 people found this review helpful

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