At last found, he is delivered to Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home, a ramshackle establishment peopled with above average eccentrics, including boozy Enid, a former girlfriend with serious denial issues. With her help and the help of a wise cracking spirit guide, Heuer will try to move on to the next plane. But before he can do this, he must endure an inept embalming, feral whispers, and Enid's flawed recollections of their murky past. Is it really worth it?
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Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite Lawyer Jürgen Heuer dies suddenly and alone in his litter-strewn home. His spirit rages against the injustices of his past life until he is finally found. He is taken to the Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home and its staff of eccentrics that include Enid, a former girlfriend with serious denial issues. With her help and the help of a wisecracking spirit guide, Heuer tries to move on to the next plane. But first, he must endure an inept embalming, feral whispers, and Enid’s flawed recollections of their murky past. Heuer Lost and Found by A.B. Funkhauser is by far the most unusual mixed bag of genres and characters I have ever had the pleasure to read. From the explicit descriptions of body decomposition to the embalming process and the spiritual world that glides along parallel to our physical world, the story will rock your world. Characterization is just one of Funkhauser’s strong points. She is adept at bringing her characters to life with an imaginative insight into the convoluted idiosyncrasies that at first seem off the scale, but are actually facsimiles of everyone. Heuer Lost and Found is not a fast-paced thriller. It is, instead, a smoothly rolling tide of humorous narrative, audacious scenes, and imaginative insights into life, death and what lies beyond. The story told from several characters' points of view, with dialogue and narrative that bounces from past to present, is proof positive of Funkhauser’s talent, and provides the icing on the cake of an amazing story. I’ve found a new favorite author. I am confident that readers of Heuer Lost and Found will join me.
There’s a sense of detachment to be found in people who deal with the deceased. Life, though, is not without its upheavals as long as one remains within its bounds. So how do you deal with the application of a spicy story to such resigned protagonists? Enter, Ms. Funkhauser with her masterpiece. To put things in perspective, let us consider a phone call to a funeral house early in the story. It begins with the line: “This is Werner Heuer, Herr Forsythe. My wife and I have need of your services today. My son is dead.” Now consider the sentiment of Mr. Forsythe on the other end, depicted a few lines later: Charlie, calculating profit after disbursements, felt better already. The author’s mastery begins with the very element she chooses to play with to pacify the contrast in her story - time. She opens the door at the universally agonizing hour of 9 AM on a Monday, then begins to step back, before we’re suddenly flung back to Day One: Postmortem - 15 minutes on. The only constant from then on is subtle versions of time-swing that soaks us in. It is fascinating to watch people on two sides of a wall - oblivious to each other and looking at the same thing in an entirely different way - talk to each other but not listen. This is especially so when that wall is the border between life and after-life. In the story, we have Enid on one side, who loses someone once important to her - Heuer - without a chance to say a final goodbye. On the other side, we have Heuer whose story, and in some way, life itself unfolds after his death. As I recently expressed to the author in an interview, in a single stroke she introduces us to both our greatest fear and our greatest wish. And as she had then clarified, the very idea leads to the conclusion that there is no first or second chance, nor is there a wall. Everything we experience in the pages of time is in continuum. A. B. Funkhauser’s likes to play with her narration. She liberally uses non-English phrases, alternates between classy and backstreet lingo, and most pleasingly, embeds past conversations in between the current ones. This fusion aids the above idea. But perhaps the most moving of moments comes when the dead asks God to prove His existence and has his prayers answered almost immediately, at which he frolics, “Yes ! Yes! There is a god!” That joy establishes the fickle unending of our quest for purpose. The author compels us to make peace with a whole lot of commotion. For, in narrating the psyche of the deceased, she makes us face a choice - to use the time we have in peaceful altruism, or to burn ourselves out in constant churn of tit-for-tat scheming, which will not end even after we die. So from a Bastard’s indifferent generosity, to a Rat’s unconditional love, to an inanimate after-life existence in a Lamp, Ms. Funkauser’s message to us is beautifully laid out. As she states, beauty and elegance is not always spotted or even appreciated even when it’s right in front of your face. Her ultimate directive can be summed up in one word: Live. But it takes her book to understand how.