In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die. She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences. Along the way, she enrolls in an English medium school, gets electromagnetically haunted at a university in Ontario, and visits a Duke University professor with a plan to weigh the consciousness of a leech. Her historical wanderings unearth soul-seeking philosophers who rummaged through cadavers and calves' heads, a North Carolina lawsuit that established legal precedence for ghosts, and the last surviving sample of "ectoplasm" in a Cambridge University archive.
©2005 Mary Roach; (P)2005 Brilliance Audio
Partly, I was disappointed in the reader. I found her rendition too over-done for what I imagine to be Mary Roach's dry, tongue-in-cheek humor. I also found the topic to be less interesting than I expected, although the ending was quite a surprise. I guess most of the scientific findings about topics related to the afterlife are exactly what I would expect. I am looking forward to more of Roach's books though.
I like Mary Roach, and have enjoyed her other books, but the snotty, openly mocking tones in the narration made Roach sound snotty, and I really don't think that's the attitude she would have going into this topic. I really wanted to hear what Roach had to say about the afterlife, but after a few chapters, I just couldn't listen anymore.
I think this narrator does the author a disservice, because the one thing I've always enjoyed about Roach is her open mind and genuine curiosity, and that lovely nature is overshadowed by a snotty tone that's trying too hard to be... funny... I guess? If you're a Roach fan, I recommend the print version.
The different areas she investigated. Her balanced investigation and open mind.
I think the narrator was terribly mismatched. Roach's wit is dry, yet the performance was too peppy, too stage-projected for the book. I feel bad for both the author and the performer.
I love Roach's writing, and I think the delivery should convey her personality more.
Aside from the worst English accents since Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, the narrator reads to us like someone reading to six year olds; with too much EMPHasis on WORDS to create a FALSE sense of DRAMA. Avoid or your teeth will grind to dust.
I am saddened by her ignorant toward other cultures. The scientific parts of the book was interesting and that was all i was interested in. Her personal comments and her extreme ignorant toward other cultures is the reason for 1 star.
To the writer: You are not an anthropologist, stick with the science...
Bernadette Quigley has a good voice, but she reads this book accentuating and exaggerating everything so much that she completely kills Mary Roach's hilarious subtle pokes. Every funny comment is read in a sort of winky-winky way, and every sarcastic remark is overblown.
Every british accent is butchered and sounds like a mockery. The lame attempts at an indian accent is borderline racist, I believe.
I generally laugh myself to tears when reading a Roach book; in the case of this one, there were no laughs so far. I have to mentally reinterpret all the words. If you never read a Mary Roach book before, please do yourself a favor don't start with this reading. Try, for example, Packing For Mars, which was a delightful listen.
As far as the book's contents, this is standard Mary Roach: scientific exploration and research to debunk subjects of mystification, with a lot of curiosities, grossness and sarcasm. I love her style; I can see why not everyone would.
I implore you to READ this book. But please DO NOT LISTEN to it. Bernadette Quigley's use of accent's and affectations make this unbearable. The subject matter is interesting and the book is well written but the narration will drove me turn the book off and delete it from library immediately. I quickly picked up the book and finished reading it with complete satisfaction and no need for the ridiculous Ms. Quigley added.
I thought this would be an interesting listen about afterlife and ghosts - you know stuff for long boring car rides. The opening of the book which is very slow follows our author in India while looking into reincarnation. The narration was very unusual and I could not figure out the tone of the book - it certainly was not what I was expecting. I stopped listening to in fact. Then I gave it another chance, it turned into one of the funniest books I have listened to as the author exhaustively goes through the history of mediums and ghost hunting in general. I have recommended it to family members with the warning about a tedious start. All have agreed it is hilarious - unintentionally or not. I can understand why folks are upset though - but as far as historical comedy and satire goes the subject is loaded with great(silly)potential.
I'd hoped I was getting a book that offered scientific theory on the afterlife--interviews--stories, etc... Instead the writer took a skeptical, ridiculing approach and the narrator was completely wrong for this type of book. It wasn't the narrator's fault completely--the book is not good. It scrambles all over the place, the author gets in the way of the story. She takes the comedy (her attempts at comedy) to almost a slapstick level of silly--just not good. Awful actually.
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