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Publisher's Summary

A tunnel, a light, a door. And beyond it...the unimaginable.

Dr. Joanna Lander is a psychologist specializing in near-death experiences. She is about to get help from a new doctor with the power to give her the chance to get as close to death as anyone can.

A brilliant young neurologist, Dr. Richard Wright has come up with a way to manufacture the near-death experience using a psychoactive drug. Joanna’s first NDE is as fascinating as she imagined — so astounding that she knows she must go back, if only to find out why that place is so hauntingly familiar.

But each time Joanna goes under, her sense of dread begins to grow, because part of her already knows why the experience is so familiar, and why she has every reason to be afraid. Yet just when Joanna thinks she understands, she’s in for the biggest surprise of all — a shattering scenario that will keep you feverishly reading until the final climactic page.

©2001 Connie Willis (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“A true heir to John Donne, Kurt Gödel and Preston Sturges, a wit with a common touch who’s read more great books, and makes better use of them in her work, than two or three lit professors put together.” (Newsday)
“Willis has developed an idea that bears all the authority of a genuine insight: disturbingly plausible, compelling, intensely moving, and ultimately uplifting.” (Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review)
“Thoughtful, often fascinating ... Willis makes Lander’s journeys into the afterworld increasingly frightening and compelling." (Chicago Tribune)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    116
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Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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  • Story

Willis Proves Again She's a Master Storyteller

If there's anything that I've learned from reading Connie Willis' time travel novels, it's that she knows how to weave complex plots, interesting characters, and dry humor together brilliantly. Passage, however, is on a whole other level.

The entire book is a giant metaphor of a metaphor (this'll make sense at the end). It's a genius concept executed flawlessly. The characters skirt the line between realistic and caricature you can't help but love all of them. And the writing pulls you right in.

Just as important, Willis delves into some of the toughest problems in life--namely death, and how we cope with it. Not just physical death, though, but the inevitable forgetting that accompanies death; the erasure of identity and meaning, both for the decedent and those who survive them.

The narration by Dina Pearlman also deserves praise. She has a clear, versatile voice, and has identifiable voices for each of the main characters.

I am in awe of this novel, and the audiobook production.

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Unforgettable images of not-so-near death

What made the experience of listening to Passage the most enjoyable?

Images of the emergency room and the Titanic synopsize Death. It starts out in a typical light comedy Connie Willis style, about researching near death experiences. It becomes a more sober exploration of actual death. Never mind whether you can come back from it. What is it like?

What was one of the most memorable moments of Passage?

The main character's final scenes on the Titanic. I will not say more to prevent giving anything away.

Which character – as performed by Dina Pearlman – was your favorite?

The female main character is Connie Willis clear through, and she becomes more and more sympathetic as the pages turn.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Closer to crying than laughing, but full of admiration for Willis as a writer

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Wonderful!

Just an amazing experience. I enjoyed everything about it but especially the story. Connie Willis is a marvelous writer.

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  • Franklin
  • Danbury, CT, United States
  • 10-19-16

Amazing

What did you like best about this story?

The character development and the plot is engaging. The book is a great fun to listen to, and the story provides real insight into philosophical questions of life and death and our purpose on Earth.

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Passage was great read.

Love Connie Willis book. Could not stop listening .I Can not wait to read Remake.

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Too long for content

It was a good eight hour book that was, unfortunately over 20 hours. Long. It too way too long to get Rotherham point

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Struggled to finish it

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not really. There were some interesting sections and some of the characters were likeable, but 30 hours was too long for a story that did not have much of a plot. I have an interest in NDEs but this book dealt with the topic in a very creative but somewhat bizarre manner.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something shorter.

What aspect of Dina Pearlman’s performance would you have changed?

I enjoyed the narration and thought she handled the different voices quite well and made the story more interesting. I don't think I would have kept going with the story if I had been reading a printed book.

Do you think Passage needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Please no. As the whole book seemed to be trying to prove that NDEs were some sort of brain reaction while at the same time also describing the perspective of people who had "passed over" but were still somehow conscious and aware, I can't imagine what sort of crazy follow up plot would allow both these contradictory scenarios to coexist.

Any additional comments?

Would be willing to try another of Connie Willis's books as lots of reviews suggest her other books are better than this one.

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Slow build

Where does Passage rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I thought the first 2 parts of the story were a little slow going and repetitive, but the story really picked up at the end.

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Pretty good, but drags a little

This book did not go where I expected at all.

I really liked Connie Willis' Oxford Time Travel series, so I decided to try this one. It's a good story but it's also very different from that series.

The strongest part of this book is the characters. They're well written and realistic. There's also a good mystery about what's actually going on with the near-death experiences that the main character has.

My only criticism is that the book starts to drag around the halfway mark, and doesn't really pick back up until about three quarters of the way through. The last quarter is good, but the book could use a little trimming so that you get there faster.

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  • Amy
  • Cadiz, KY, United States
  • 01-16-13

Enjoyable "read"

What did you love best about Passage?

It was engaging from start to finish.

What did you like best about this story?

The continuous wonder concerning the NDEs and where they were going.

Which character – as performed by Dina Pearlman – was your favorite?

Joanna Lander

If you could rename Passage, what would you call it?

Mysterious journies

1 of 2 people found this review helpful