Regular price: $23.07

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

"What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that's that - the million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my laptop?"

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    241
  • 4 Stars
    284
  • 3 Stars
    285
  • 2 Stars
    107
  • 1 Stars
    50

Performance

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    256
  • 4 Stars
    204
  • 3 Stars
    141
  • 2 Stars
    76
  • 1 Stars
    96

Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    222
  • 4 Stars
    232
  • 3 Stars
    212
  • 2 Stars
    79
  • 1 Stars
    29
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Eh

Less substantial than Roach's other books. The narrator and her accents are annoying. This seems to be something she shares with the narrators of the other Roach books I've listened to.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Rashad
  • Glendale, CA, United States
  • 09-30-15

Awful narration

Quigley's condescending, cheesy narration, rife with cringe-worthy bad accents (Indian, English, Southern) can't help but detract from Mary Roach's normally brilliant prose. That said, this book lacks so many of the surprises and signature counter-intuitive gems that make Mary Roach my favorite living author. All said and done, probably her weakest book but still worth checking out. But read it, don't listen to this.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • KAMS
  • Massachusetts
  • 09-28-15

Excruciating, Boring. Narrator over dramatic.

Pretty much kept fast forwarding 30 seconds at a time hoping for something worth listening to on this book. Chinese torture boring.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good Mary Roach book, atrocious narration

Would you try another book from Mary Roach and/or Bernadette Quigley?

Yes for Mary Roach, no for Bernadette Quigley

What did you like best about this story?

Classic Mary Roach, gonzo journalism with weird scientists

Would you be willing to try another one of Bernadette Quigley’s performances?

Never. Throughout the book she does horrible accents bordering on racist, she pauses in the wrong places or emphasizes the wrong words, and feels free to put her own spin on sentences. It would have been much better with a narrator reading in a neutral tone and her own voice.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Boring and rambling.

Would you try another book from Mary Roach and/or Bernadette Quigley?

No. Unfortunately I already have. This rambled on with totally unimportant research. I just wanted it to be over.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jo Green
  • Cordova, TN, United States
  • 08-24-15

Another winner...

from Mary Roach. I have listened to 3 books by this author and intend to get more. I'm impressed by the amount of information she researches and thoroughly enjoy her humorous way of looking at things. I think I'm in the same zone as far as skepticism and curiosity.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

So fun

Didn't really know a thing about the book when I bought it, just thought the title sounded fun and it was! Very funny but very interesting. I enjoyed this audiobook a LOT!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Gave Up

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

More narrative on actual studies, less on descriptions of people, places, blah, blah, blah. The interesting science was about 20 minutes worth of the book. Remainder, thoughts of the author regarding people, places, herself, and a junior high attempt at humor.

What do you think your next listen will be?

This makes my second Mary Roach audible book. Bought were both at same time. If I had bought separately, I would not have purchased the second book.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Bernadette Quigley?

I'm not sure. I believe the narrator tried to portray humor as the author intended. It just came off as junior high snarky snipping. And, way too much of it. Scientific test information was way drawn out with all the "aside" observations and commentary. The interesting stuff could have been condensed to two hours listening.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes, it gave some interesting medical science history related to the subject.

Any additional comments?

If you bemoan people who attempt to tell a story/get endlessly sidetracked on non-relevant detail and you want to scream "get to the point".......this book is not for you.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Narrator crosses the line into offensive accents.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

As many others have said, the narrator of this book was pretty awful, so I would change her. Normally I'm able to get accustomed to cheesey narration after a chapter or two, but the intermittent introduction of offensive imitations of Indian, British, and Southern accents was an insurmountable obstacle to enjoying this book. And as a scientist, I had to take a step back and assess whether or not I spend all my time whispering to people, but then I realized that it was just the narrator's (producer's?) perception of how we talk--not sure where this notion came from.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The story itself was entertaining. I did not enjoy as much as some of the other Mary Roach works I'm familiar with, but it definitely gets you thinking about the progression of science and the after life.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

See what I would change.

Could you see Spook being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Annoying

I'm not sure if it was the narrator, the author, or both, but this book just came across as rude and pretentious. I regret my decision to purchase.