Customer Reviews for

The Brief History of the Dead

Average Rating 3.5
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 2
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2006

    Amazing!

    This novel made me think of things I don't usually spend time on, such as, WHAT IF everyone shared the fate of the characters. I don't want to give it away, since it was such a facinating read. I found the story line remote, but at the same time frighteningly possible. Obviously, I loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    I read a lot of books. Most i enjoy and quickly forget, but...

    This story haunted me for weeks after i finished it and im still writing a review years later... that seems to be the case with this auhors books. Also he seems to be somewhat obessed with death. But its not morbid, more spiritual.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Lovely concept

    I found the concept in this book to be rather engaging. The ending was a little abrupt. I would recommend this for a quick read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Brief History of the Dead

    I approached this book with a great deal of excitement. Not expectations, but simply excitement at what could be done with such an intriguing premise. I wanted to like it, I really did, but Brockmeier wouldn't let me. His prose is okay, I guess, but it also felt very tired. In fact, the whole book felt tired. As though Brockmeier really didn't want to be writing it at all. The plot moves so slow I found myself forgetting every few chapters what was going on: I just didn't care. The characters are not only one-dimensional, but they're boring. Sometimes one-dimensional characters can be fun simply for their own sake, not in this case. If you are looking for a good dose from the magical realism genre stick to Murakami or Marquez.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2009

    Remembered By Scott Schlimmer

    Kevin Brockmeier drags his readers through 252 pages of teasing at some sort of grand payoff or recollection that never comes. The Brief History of the Dead is the epitome of a novel without any rewarding climax or even revelation. Brockmeier sucks in the reader with the illusion of a promising tale of what has become of our world in his near future scenario as remembered by those who have recently passed.
    Brockmeier introduces his reader to an ancient African concept of life beyond this world. A world, similar to our own, filled with individuals who have died, but who are remembered by the living. As the last person to remember an individual dies, he or she leaves this second world, presumably for another.
    Droping his readers into the world of the dead, we are told of an earth desecrated by humans, troubled by war and pollution: an earth at the latter edge of human existence. Soon the city starts to swell, and then it is all but empty, almost overnight. Brockmeier tells us the stories of these dead in third person, alternating between the inhabitants of the city and a live individual, Laura Byrd, last living human. The vast majority of the dead, those who have most recently died, were wiped out by an illness known widely as "the blinks." As a scientist isolated on research in Antartica, Byrd is never exposed and her memory keeps these people from advancing. Through flashbacks and nonsensical dreams, the connections between those in the city of the dead and the individuals from Laura's life are thrust upon the reader. Laura Struggles to make contact with the world and reveals what has happened to the human race when she comes across the remain of another base better connected to the rest of humanity. Brockmeier's central message seem to be that an individual effects everyone around them, but as the story concludes, the reader is left with three major unanswered questions: What happens to Laura? What happens to the city upon Laura's supposed death? And Why did I waste my time reading this book?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good discussion for a book group

    I first heard about this book on NPR's Fresh Air when the author was interviewed. I was fascinated by the idea of the manner in which death was portrayed by the author. I had a certain idea about the book because of the interview but I was surprised by the way the book unfolded and ended. I do not consider this book a page-turner because it is a bit difficult to get into at first and I didn't form an attachment with the characters, but the ideas in this book are original and strange. I would recommend this book for Sci-Fi fans.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2008

    Memories Never Fade by Carissa Chamney

    Based off an excerpt from the book Lies My Teacher Told Me, Brockmeier puts a whole new spin on the reality of the afterlife. Fascinated by the African belief of three stages of life; the living, the sasha (living-dead), and the zamani (dead), Kevin transforms an unknown world into a captivating story of survival and rebirth. This mesmerizing novel revolves around two different worlds; one being the ¿city of the sasha¿ and the other focusing on a scientist in Antarctica struggling to stay alive. <BR/>The story bounces back and forth with reality and the city of the living-dead continuing to unravel a link with the two worlds and keeping the reader intrigued in discovering this connection. In the real world, Laura Byrd is a wildlife specialist who is working in Antarctica on an experiment for Coca-Cola. Along with two other scientists, her team loses communication to the outside world and slowly loses hope in ever being rescued, so Laura is left alone at their station while the others try to find help. Detached from reality, the scientists have no idea about what is happening to the rest of the world. An epidemic is spreading from one country to the next, killing millions each day, through the one thing they are trying to preserve; a simple soda. Terrorists plagued the rising Coca-Cola federation with a fatal virus that is known as ¿the Blinks¿. The virus is untreatable and deathly, unstoppable. What seemed like just a nightmare becomes real as Laura embarks on a journey across the Artic alone, freezing, and low on supplies and finds nothing but traces of loss hope in other survivors. She only learns of the epidemic through a journal left behind by her team member at another base camp, but she has no comprehension as to how much of an impact the virus has caused on the rest of the world. <BR/>In ¿the city¿ the population of the living-dead starts to diminish which leads to one explanation; the population of the world is dropping; rapidly. Soon there are but a few remaining inhabitants that start to witness the city boundaries shrink right before their eyes. Whole blocks disappear by the day leaving behind those that are still clutched in Laura¿s memories. The one person that holds them all trapped in the city is the one person struggling to survive, unknowing that their passage to the afterlife is determined through her fate and the one common ground between them all; her memory. <BR/>Brockmeier¿s imagination captures us on every page and forces us to turn to the next. He switches the point-of-view constantly throughout the story, which gives us a different aspect from all angles of those who are held captive in ¿the city¿ as well as Laura¿s grip on life. As a reader we are swept off our feet into a new world where we discover the importance of those we encounter throughout our lives whether they be a close friend or just the paper boy, and we continue to sore until the last Ba-dum which still echoes in our minds as we reach the final page. Brockmeier¿s The History of the Dead shows us that even our fate can lie in the hands of a complete stranger.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2008

    Disappointing!

    I picked up this book based on recommendations and good reviews that were posted here. I was greatly disappointed. I had a lot of difficulty I getting through this book which seemed like a poor imitation of Richard Matheson's 'What Dreams May Come.' The author of this book must have read that book first to get his ideas for this book but he did a poor job of trying to put a different spin about places beyond death. I suggest reading Matheson's book instead which is excellent!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2007

    Wonderful

    The book, on a whole, is wonderfully written. Holds your interest until the end. But, unfortunetly, the ending was disappointing. I felt like something greater should have happened. But, in the end, it is a good book and I have recommended it to many friends.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2007

    Fascinating

    I found this book to be fascinating and recommend it to anyone that likes a theme that is a little bit unusual and 'out there' - touching on spiritual aspects of life after death.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2007

    Wow first chapter.

    The first chapter is better that the whole book. A short story by itself really impressive and outstanding. Regarding to the rest of the book, I felt that I could be even stronger, and all that Laura and Coca-Cola thing never really got me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2007

    Disappointed!!!!!!

    The title is intriguing, the description of the book is intriguing, and the first chapter hooked me. But from there it was one of the most boring books I have ever plodded through. The stories of the folks in the city were promising but none of them ever went anywhere. The descriptions of Laura Bird's experiences were excruciating and should have been fewer and shorter. The ending is easily surmised by the end of the second chapter, so I kept waiting for some other major plot point or revelation that just never came. Don't waste your time on this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2006

    Very Creative

    From the back of the book - 'Remember me when I'm gone' just took on a whole new meaning. Brockmeier wrote this book after reading a one sentence discription of an African fable he creates a new place to go when our hearts stop beating. People who are still remembered by some one on Earth, populate 'The City'. As long as they're remembered they stay in the City, at the same age. Could be decades. I could hardly put this book down. I know you'll love it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2006

    Great story about the afterlife!

    This was a fascinating read. Deep, thought-provoking. A story unlike any other, clearly illustrating how intertwined our lives are. It is, however, about death--and whatever comes after death. At times the isolation and hopelessness in the story is palpable, a tribute to the author's talent.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2006

    The Brief Review of the Brief History of the Dead

    I recently finished listening to this book on audio cd, and I must say I was impressed. The first chapter completely hooked me, and I was hoping the remainder of the book would have the same tone. The people in the City's descriptions of death were astounding and really sucked me into this world. The story is brilliantly simple, after we die, we go to this alternate reality, the City, where we live like normal just so long as someone alive still remembers us. After the last person who remembers us dies, we leave the City and go on to whatever comes next. The story takes off from there and involves such things as Anarctica, the Coca-Cola pandemic, and the people of the City's search for the meaning of their existence. My only real gripe about the novel is the ending. I'm sure some people will love the ambiguity of it, but I was really hoping for more. The novel had so many twists and turns, but the whole time I was reading, I was thinking, 'Okay, this is the ending this is leading to, but that seems obvious, so he'll probably do something else.' But the author did not. But, that can be attributed to my getting to know these characters and wanted to know...more. Nonetheless, that is the only thing keeping me from giving this book a perfect rating. It is refreshing, in this age of the Da Vinci Code and dime a dozen crime thrillers, to see authors with this sort of imaginative scope, and the necessary writing chops to tell a whopper of a good story. Highly recommended for imaginatve folks.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2006

    Time well spent

    Since my return to the reading of novels 'The Brief History of the Dead' was a very good read. Before this particular novel the only thing I had read in more than 4 years was the Da Vinci Code. The brief history was not so much jaw dropping as it was to the point and completely in your face facts. It allowed you to analyze daeth and the afterlife in such a new way that it was hard for me put it down. At only 200 some odd pages I finished it in 2 short days. I enjoyed it throughout and would reccomend it to anyone looking to escape the normality of modern outlooks on life and death.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 2