Customer Reviews for

Sum: Tales from the Afterlives

Average Rating 4
( 75 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(45)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Funny, poignant, mind-expanding journey through possibility space

I heard the author on NPR and loved the fact that he said his mission was to "celebrate the vastness of our ignorance" and "shine the flashlight around the possibility space". So I picked up the book and was not disappointed. The 40 stories in this book are extremely ...
I heard the author on NPR and loved the fact that he said his mission was to "celebrate the vastness of our ignorance" and "shine the flashlight around the possibility space". So I picked up the book and was not disappointed. The 40 stories in this book are extremely mind-stretching, but never in a heavy-handed way -- they are always spun out with humor and unexpected turns and twists.
In this book, the author makes the clever move of using the afterlife as a playing field in which to highlight the character of our current lives. Each story takes an imaginative, unexpected starting point (like, God is a married couple, or God is the size of a bacterium) and extrapolates that out in a tightly-written narrative where you are the main character. And then, just when you think you understand the trajectory of the story, there is a poignant twist in the final lines that makes you re-think the whole thing. I found the structure of this book brilliant and enviable. Through telling 40 contradictory stories of what an afterlife could be, the author sends a message that it's appropriate to be expansive in our thinking rather than boxed in. Two thumbs up from me for this lovely book.

posted by ChanChan on May 17, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Not Clever Enough

Though some of the stories are clever enough too many of them feel forced - as if the author struggled to find enough variants on the afterlife theme to compose a book. I bought the book on the strength of a review in the Wall Street Journal but I was generally disappo...
Though some of the stories are clever enough too many of them feel forced - as if the author struggled to find enough variants on the afterlife theme to compose a book. I bought the book on the strength of a review in the Wall Street Journal but I was generally disappointed. A few gems but a lot of slag.

posted by Antonius_Marcus_Lucius on April 13, 2009

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  • Posted May 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Funny, poignant, mind-expanding journey through possibility space

    I heard the author on NPR and loved the fact that he said his mission was to "celebrate the vastness of our ignorance" and "shine the flashlight around the possibility space". So I picked up the book and was not disappointed. The 40 stories in this book are extremely mind-stretching, but never in a heavy-handed way -- they are always spun out with humor and unexpected turns and twists.
    In this book, the author makes the clever move of using the afterlife as a playing field in which to highlight the character of our current lives. Each story takes an imaginative, unexpected starting point (like, God is a married couple, or God is the size of a bacterium) and extrapolates that out in a tightly-written narrative where you are the main character. And then, just when you think you understand the trajectory of the story, there is a poignant twist in the final lines that makes you re-think the whole thing. I found the structure of this book brilliant and enviable. Through telling 40 contradictory stories of what an afterlife could be, the author sends a message that it's appropriate to be expansive in our thinking rather than boxed in. Two thumbs up from me for this lovely book.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 9, 2010

    Wow

    This book is a compilation of "theories" about what happens after we die. It's amazing, unique, funny, and kept my interest thoroughly. It's chapters are short, (2-3 pages) and light-hearted. I strongly recommend this book to anyone with a sense of humor, a love for irony, and something a little off kilter. It doesn't bash the believing world, but it gives one something to think about.
    Whether your looking for something different for the reader that has it all, or just looking for a change of pace, this book is it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing Book-exercise your imagination and openness

    "Sum" is imaginative and thought provoking. I absolutely love it; Definately a new favorite. Eagleman questions, or theorizes, different possible outcomes of after life. Each and every story really makes you wonder what life is really about, while simultaneously pushing any preemptive or preconceived understandings about life after death so far in the back of your brain that you actually have the necessary space, time and comfort to actually consider possibilites that weren't force fed to you in church. I love this book; "Mirrors" is my favorite story. I couldn't (still can't) put this book down!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2009

    Imaginative

    'SUM' was a wonderful pleasure! Each and every story is uniquely crafted and handled. Every story is different, each only a page to 3 pages long. Short and sweet. This is definitely on my list of favourites. I recommend this book to anyone with an open mind!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    Incredible!

    I loved almost every story and have gifted this book to many friends. Perfect for a quick and though-provoking read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 9, 2012

    Amazing.

    Rarely do you find a a novel as inventive, amusing, and thought provoking as Eagleman's short novel Sum. Though the book is about the what happens after death, Eagleman's imaginative ideas are really about life and how we spend our time before we die. You haven't read anything like it because it belongs to a genre of its own. If you had something to do today, put it off untill tomorrow because you will read this entire book, re-read it, and spend the rest of your day thinking about it. It truely is amazing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    What drivel

    Bought this book expecting intelligent and/or entertaining ideas. It is neither.
    Absolute crap!
    The only poisitive is that the cnapters as well as the book are mercifully short.
    If it were a paper book, it wouldn't even be worthy of use for papering a bird cage.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2011

    Incredible

    Deep, funny, beautiful, surprising, life-changing.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2009

    buy this book- buy ten and give them to everyone you like

    I love this book! Little bites of bliss. Each story is more thought provoking than the last.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Not Clever Enough

    Though some of the stories are clever enough too many of them feel forced - as if the author struggled to find enough variants on the afterlife theme to compose a book. I bought the book on the strength of a review in the Wall Street Journal but I was generally disappointed. A few gems but a lot of slag.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 5, 2014

    Loved it

    Read most of it with my 11-year old and we were both fascinated with the concepts that this author wrote about it. Lovely book!

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

    Posted January 10, 2014

    Is this everclan

    Its me frozenblaze i was grounded and came back to an abandoned camp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Ruefire

    "May l join?"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Blizzardkit

    Feels lonely

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Skydream

    She pads in her sky blue eyes surveying Vipor. "I would like to be your mate." She says. She sits and waits, her pure white pelt rippling in the wind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Tidal & Faded & Acorn

    They pad in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    Join Rainclan!!

    It needs more warroirs apprentaces and kits.It even has a starclan! Join at stormy res 5 today. Map of clan at res 11!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    Kinkon

    How are you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Halorix

    Wolfstar sent me to help your clan

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

    Posted January 11, 2014

    Dazzlingmoon

    Pads in. Hi everyone

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