Thomas Pierce - The Afterlives - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9780349134598
    • Publication date:09 Jan 2018

The Afterlives

By Thomas Pierce

  • Paperback
  • £14.99

Thomas Pierce has created a story which unfolds in this life and the next. Endlessly inventive and involving, The Afterlives is for the readers who love the writing of George Saunders.

'Ridiculously good' (New York Times) author Thomas Pierce's debut novel is a brilliantly dazzling and poignant love story that answers the question: What happens after we die? (Lots of stuff, it turns out.)

Will we meet again? I believe we will, but as for proof I can only offer my story, nothing more.

Jim Byrd died. Technically. For a few minutes. The diagnosis: heart attack at age thirty. Revived with no memory of any tunnels, lights or angels, Jim wonders what - if anything - awaits us on the other side.

Then a ghost shows up. Maybe. Jim and his new wife, Annie, find themselves tangling with holograms, psychics, messages from the beyond and a machine that connects the living and the dead. As Jim and Annie journey through history and fumble through faith, they confront the spectre of loss that looms for anyone who dares to fall in love. Funny, fiercely original and gracefully moving, The Afterlives will haunt you. In a good way.

Praise for The Afterlives

'A bracingly intelligent, beautifully rendered meditation on ghosts, technology, marriage, and the afterlife. This is a remarkable novel' Emily St. John Mandel

'Inventive, romantic, and unsettling, The Afterlives is a story of two people who take extraordinary measures to answer the Big Questions: What is the soul? Do we ever really die? Flabbergastingly original and sublimely satisfying' Amity Gaige

Biographical Notes

Thomas Pierce was born and raised in South Carolina. He is the author of the collection Hall of Small Mammals and his stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, VQR, Oxford American and elsewhere. A recipient of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 Award, he is a graduate of the University of Virginia creative writing program. Pierce lives in Virginia with his wife and daughters.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780349134581
  • Publication date: 01 Feb 2018
  • Page count: 384
  • Imprint: Blackfriars
Fascinating...His work has a quirky sensibility that recalls Lorrie Moore or George Saunders, an ability to bring the unquestionably weird into the path of daily life without every seeming forced...Pierce's confident story-telling and fine characterisation mean that we always feel in safe hands...The Afterlives - like Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black, or Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife - will raise the hairs on the back of your neck and remind you that another world may be just a heartbeat away — Erica Wagner, Financial Times
There are moments in Thomas Pierce's debut The Afterlives that recall the English author Kate Atkinson's award-winning novel Life After Life....It is a hugely inventive and enjoyable journey into the unknown. What makes the novel so successful is a believable near-future whose advances seem only a few steps away from where we are today...Captivating — The Irish Times
Pierce mines the mysterious rift between fantasy and reality with the intricate skill of an archaeologist and the sheer wonder of an imaginative child — Elle
Set in America in the near future . . . this funny modern-day ghost story calls to mind Henry James's work . . . [A] highly entertaining read — The Lady
This dazzlingly original novel tackles a timeless question - what happens after we die? A hilarious and resplendent story about metaphysics, technology, love, and of course, the afterlife — Chicago Review of Books
Thomas Pierce's touching, thought-provoking debut novel — USA Today
Thomas Pierce's enchanting debut novel, The Afterlives...[is] richly imaginative, quirky.... Pierce's pacing is excellent, and the reader never feels overwhelmed by the increasingly bizarre events in the novel...Pierce also has a gift for memorable and realistic characters... A deeply generous, compassionate book that asks its readers to open their hearts and treat one another with understanding, even as the world grows more complicated, and more unknowable, every day —
Thomas Pierce uses a love story to ask the big questions in his debut novel...Through Jim and Annie's experience living in a small, gentrifying town during a moment of technological change, Pierce approaches more anxious topics both far out and everyday: what if we could capture the essence of a dead person in a hologram? What happens when technology can hurt as well as aid? Is it possible to be a good step-parent? Did I marry the right person? The book's pull comes from the mash-up of all the existential concerns a person might face — Vanity Fair
A bracingly intelligent, beautifully rendered meditation on ghosts, technology, marriage, and the afterlife. This is a remarkable novel — Emily St. John Mandel
Weave[s] science into stories about faith, family, and mysteries of existence. In both, death is still an inescapable fact of life...The Afterlives is as much a dialogue and an attempt at reconciliation between faith and science as it is a contemplation of the opportunities of second chances. —
Inventive, romantic, and unsettling, The Afterlives is a story of two people who take extraordinary measures to answer the Big Questions: What is the soul? Do we ever really die? Flabbergastingly original and sublimely satisfying — Amity Gaige
Thomas Pierce's fine new novel is often humorous, but Jim Byrd's search to find out what might lie beyond this life makes The Afterlives much more: a poignant inquiry into our human desire for permanence — Ron Rash
Wildly imaginative and thought-provoking fun for fans of Dave Eggers — Booklist
Ridiculously good... These stories never drift vaguely off into the ether. They are beautifully built, and their author has an especially deft way of finding just the right final flourish.... [There's a] feeling of being inside a bubble while reading Mr. Pierce, and it is a bubble you won't want to leave... Mr. Pierce's originality, inventiveness, questing spiritual intelligence and animal fixation aren't easy to do justice to in the limited space here. But they're irrefutably good reasons to discover him for yourself — New York Times, praise for Hall of Small Mammals
The stories in Pierce's book explore the ordinary in the otherworldly, the surreal in the mundane, and the results are stunning and unpredictable — NPR, praise for The Hall of Small Mammals

Hall of Small Mammals

Thomas Pierce
Thomas Pierce

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C M Taylor

C M Taylor grew up in Yorkshire and Suffolk. He studied at Cambridge University, worked in TV in his twenties, and then in India, Belgium and Spain. He now lives in Oxford with his wife and daughter.

Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, won the Hopwood Award, the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the American Library Association's Alex Award. She is a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, and she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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