But even Heaven is not complete without Annie, and the divided soul mates will do anything to reach each other across the boundaries between life and death. When tragedy threatens to divide them forever, Chris risks his very soul to save Annie from an eternity of despair.
©1978 Richard Matheson; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"One of the most important writers of the 20th century." (Ray Bradbury)
"Matheson is one of the great names in American terror fiction." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Huge fan of numerous genre's. Love the paranormal, doomsday / end of the world and post-apocalyptic is my favorite. Also love thrillers, comedy and just about anything...
I fell in love with this book after seeing the movie version starring Robin Williams many years ago. When I originally read this book, I realized how vastly different it was to the movie, in its settings, message and general story-line. This audio book is no different. Personally, as much as I loved the movie, the book is a thousand times better.
This book follows the general ideas of most every religion and smartly puts them into a single concept of "Summer Land", which is everyone’s own personal vision of heaven. This book talks about the various concepts of heaven and hell, and from a first person perspective is both remarkably enticing, and disturbing.
We all have our own concepts of what will or will not happen to us when we die, but this books seems to tackle intelligently all the concepts of heaven and the hereafter, without rebuking or insulting any one belief system.
Richard Matheson has created a beautiful world of the hereafter that anyone would be grateful to go to, based on all major documents from cultures around the world, taking the gross roots of all concepts and finding the balance between them all to create a new world. No matter what your beliefs of life after death, this is a fantstic novel about death, never giving up on life, and knowing when to let go... this journey takes you on a first person perspective on the process of death, finding your own heaven, seeing the paradise the awaits, and the torment of hell we create for ourselves as well in our own negative thoughts and actions...
I highly recommend this book. The narrator is a little bland at times, but easy enough to over look...
Like many reviewers on Audible, I first learned of this book from watching the film, and while reluctant to listen to it for fear of reliving the same tale, I went ahead and listened anyway. I'm so glad I did. The book is quite different from the film, and in a good way.
Matheson borrowed ideas from many religions and spiritual literary sources to masterfully weave a tale and create a universe so concrete in the reader's mind that one hopes that an afterlife does indeed exist, and conforms to everything Matheson has written. Summerland, as this heaven is called, has laws that seem to make perfect sense in that its very existence is given form by the minds of those who dwell there. Everything comes from thought, and as such, Summerland is place that is only as limited as its inhabitants' imaginations.
The story of Chris's death and survival thereafter is fascinating. We learn everything he learns and his journey to be reunited with his loving wife is moving and heart-wrenching. Robertson Dean's narration is strong and although it is at times dull and lacking certain conviction, it suits the somber mood of the book perfectly. There were moments in this story when I was brought to tears, and that is not an easy thing for a book to do.
This is a very good book. It was a little slow at times but the overall story is fantastic. But I do have to say even though I thoroughly enjoyed this book this is one of the few cases where the movie is better. The movie is one of my all time favorites even though im not usually a huge fan of dramatic love stories there is just something special about this story. So no matter which medium you prefer this is classic story of love, loss, and redemption that transcends life and death.
If you have a low tolerance for weak and whiny characters, this might be a book to avoid. Chris is a man who has died but can't let go of his wife - however he can barely muster anywhere near the same determination about his four children.
I am only slightly exaggerating by reporting that nearly every sentence for the first three quarters of the book is some variation of "I needed to see Anne" or "I needed to talk to Anne" or "I needed to help Anne".
After his death he sets about disregarding the advice of EVERYONE in the afterlife who he asks advice from and attempts to reconnect with his wife.
The narration doesn't help either - it's like a smarmy self help therapist and it grated on me the whole way through.
It was an exercise of determination for me to persist through to the end and now that I have finished the wishy washy philosophical mashup of heaven, hell, reincarnation and eternal love of soul mates that is the ending to the story, I offer you one word to sum up this book - twaddle.
The Reader, Mr. Dean was Good. I would not buy another book by Matheson.
Character development. See Below in comments.
Prepared, Good Voice.
Chris Neilson and Anne Neilson.
This review does not discuss nor make an evaluation of the concepts of life after death as discussed by the author. This review is directed to the character and plot development of the book. Some of the other reviews I have read have indicated that Mr. Matheson is a writer and may have written in a genre categorized as horror stories. I find that hard to believe if this book is a guide.
A significant necessity of a good book is for the reader to be able to have some identification or connection with at least one of the main characters. There was none here. We start from the beginning that Mr. Neilson loved his wife dearly. What really comes across is an obsession, not love. It is very syrupy and asks that you not question whether this is really a loving relationship.
Neilson is very closed minded, as is his wife Anne. After his death, he refuses to accept the fact that he has died, ostensibly because he loves his wife. He refuses to accept his death in the face of overwhelming evidence. He gets very angry at everyone, and very quickly so when they cannot see or feel his presence. Neilson is stubborn and obstinate. “I am right and the world is wrong” appears to be his motto.
Neilson’s wife is not much better, exhibiting similar traits. She refuses to even consider Neilson’s presence when others, including her son Richard (and Percy, the seer), do feel his father’s presence. She has her opinions. There is no afterlife is her belief. As the saying goes, “Don’t bother me with the facts. I have my opinions.” In essence, I found Neilson and his wife to be very unpleasant personalities.
I found this book to be similar to another book entitled “Patriots.” In that book, the author attempted to teach the proper use of weapons and firearms in a survival situation, or post apocalyptic environment. A laudable goal if someone does not want to sit and read dry manuals or dry do it yourself books. However, the characters in that book were so dislikable (and dumb) that it made reading the book very difficult. I ended up putting down the book about a quarter of the way through.
This book suffers from the same infirmity. Again, it is laudable that the author wants to develop his perspective of life after death and may even come to with a foundation which involved having thoroughly researched this area. That is highly commendable. However, the presentation of the characters, and the requirement that we believe that theirs was “loving relationship” despite the conduct of these characters, made this book difficult to read. I made it through the first four chapters before putting it down.
The book was a huge disappointment, not for the concepts of an after life. It was a disappointment due to the development and presentation of the personalities, and their conduct.
Karen of Northern Michigan
I watched the movie a few years ago, but wish I'd listened to the book first.. There is so much more to the book. Great story.. Since this was originally written in 1978, it seems even more powerful to me. Mr. Matheson had a great insight into what we now call New Age thinking. Worth the listen to. Paints a vivid picture in your mind of the places the main character is traveling. I'm sure it upset many religious groups when it first came out, and probably still does, but if you are open minded and question very strict main stream religious believes, you'll probably really enjoy this book.
This book was one of the most heart felt and detailed stories, just wonderful!
His voice captivates the listener
I already have listened to this multiple times and have dragged a few friends along for the ride!
The vivid and detailed description of Summerland (heaven, the other side etc). I was amazed, even startled by how it naturally resonated with my own spiritual belief system. Beautiful and comforting, imaginative, even magical.
Outside of the story, there is a lengthy bibliography of literature used in the writing of this book. Much explores near death experiences and research on supernatural topics. This is not available on the audio book, but the introduction to the book states that the entire story is based solely on these referenced materials. I was so motivated to explore these resources that I had to go purchase a paper copy just for that bibliography!
The richness and depth of his voice really grabs you and takes hold of you. It's a lovely compliment to Richard Matheson's writing style. Wonderfully descriptive and deeply affecting. I once made the mistake of trying to listen to the audio book before bed. I became so enthralled with the story and wonderful narration, that I finally decided to turn my ipod off at 3am or I wouldn't have gotten any sleep at all!
That's hard to choose. I want to say Chris Neilson is the most memorable because he dominates the story, but I have to say Albert is the least forgettable for me... ;)
An amazing book! More than a book, really. A genuine, potentially life altering exploration of a sacred knowing built into the depths of our hearts and spirits. This book is so much more than a love story or even an interesting concept of the afterlife. When approached with an open mind, it will take you to a very special, exciting place and will leave you to consider your own personal journey through life... And beyond!
this is very hard to put down, very visual. it makes me wonder about my loved ones who have passed and what they may gone through.
This is a story of true love that endures a journey through heaven and hell to find each other. Beautifully written and narrated. This book give another perspective on an after life.
loved this book would recommend it definitely especially of you like the paranormal ☺
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