Sunday, June 24, 2012

The End of the World

"Accustomed to a life of cosseted seclusion at home with his parents, Valentine is suddenly faced with making his own way in the world. His new life is quickly upended, however, when he's mugged at gunpoint. Finding shelter at a mysterious inn run by the dour Mrs. Anna, he soon encounters a Bosnian woman with a hole where her stomach used to be, an American entrepreneur with a scheme to implant televisions into people's foreheads, and a Catholic priest who attempts to lure him down inside a kitchen sink. Then things start getting strange...

In this story based loosely around the state of Bardo from The Tibetan Book of the Dead - an intermediate state where the dead arrive prior to rebirth - dying is the easy part. Getting out of Bardo and returning to the land of the living is a far more perilous proposition, and unless you know what you're doing…you might never leave.

An odd, yet oddly touching tale of life, death, and the space in-between."

*May Contain Spoilers*

The End of the World by Andrew Biss is an amazing short novella that explores the life after life. It's basis from The Tibetan Book of the Dead is what drew me to this novel. I've never read anything like it before and the intrigue it created forced me to read it. 

This novella doesn't focus on character connection, but on accepting death so that the character can move on, into a new life. I was disappointed at the lack of connection with Valentine, the main character. But the story was so interesting, I'll let it slide. 

I think the best part of the novel was the interaction between Valentine and the other deceased persons at The End of the World house. Each of the characters had their own back-stories and connections with Valentine. Biss did a wonderful job at depicting the life of the characters even though they were between lives. All though, Biss did fall a little short at showing the reader Valentine's reaction to finding out he had died. I wanted more from Valentine. It seemed eerily and unbelievably easy for him to accept that he had died. 

The language Biss used for this novella was another one of the best aspects. And the dictionary feature of Kindle was definitely put to good use throughout the reading. The fresh vocabulary presented the intelligence of the author and the characters in book. 

on Amazon
rating: 2/5 cups

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