Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

By David Eagleman

Rating: 5 stars

This is a collection of forty very short stories (usually no more than two to three pages) each outlining a different vision of the afterlife, ranging from one where you relive your life with all the moments of your life that share a quality grouped together (so you spend thirty years sleeping, twenty hours clipping your toenails etc) to the idea that there is no afterlife but that at some point the universe will start to contract and time will go backwards so you’ll live your life again in reverse.

I loved this book, each story is a vignette that really packs a punch. They’re poignant, sad or funny but just about each one makes an impression. Although there is the occasional duff one (does the one that suggests that the Earth and everything on it is a giant computer ring any bells?) this is a wonderful book to be dipped into slowly, just one or a couple of stories at a time to avoid getting overloaded.

I got this book because it sounded intriguing and it had received good reviews from both Stephen Fry and John Humphreys and I’ve got a feeling that this could well end up on my post in the ‘favourite books of 2010’ thread at the end of the year.

Book details

ISBN: 9780307377340
Publisher: Pantheon
Year of publication: 2009

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