Sum: Forty Tales From the Afterlives
Published on Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 8:54am
As is often the case, I came across this book while looking for something completely different. The jacket is unremarkable. There is nothing about the title that would draw one's attention. But, somehow it drew mine; and here we are. As the title suggests, David Eagleman strings together 40 possible afterlives. The idea seems, at first, to be uninspired and wasteful. That is, until you read them. The tales are both disturbing and eerily profound. They have within them the aura of something very ancient.
Of course, I don't want to spoil them all. But I'll mention one of the tales to whet your proverbial whistles. In one of the possible afterlives (The number escapes me), Eagleman writes that there is not one death, but two. First we die. Then, once we are dead, we awake in daze. We are then shown images of ourselves. There are thousands and thousands of images. We are initially confused by this. Eventually we come to the realization that the images of ourselves that we are seeing are images of how everyone we've encountered in our lives saw us. And this is what finally kills us.
It is because of haunting tales like this that I recommend this book. I must say that not all of the tales are as morbid as this. They range from terrifying to fantastical to hilarious. Check this one out if you want something totally different from the typical good guy vs. bad guy, love story and coming of age books that seem to be everywhere these days.