Review: The Brief History of the Dead

Jacob Allred

I recently finished reading The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier.

The book’s premise is interesting: After death, everyone goes to “the City”, a sort of waiting room between earth-life and whatever comes after death. The catch: Once everyone that remembers you dies, you leave the City and go to… I don’t know. The author didn’t think far enough ahead to say what happens after you leave the City. You just vanish.

In the book, everyone in the world dies but a single person. This means that the only people left in the City are those that this last individual remembers (thousands of people).

So was it a good book? Eh. The author frequently started down a path that would lead to a good story about different individuals in the City, but always stopped short of actually getting anywhere interesting. Which was frustrating. To top it off, the author’s conclusion to the book was extremely weak and left me thinking: “That’s it? It’s over?“.

Overall, it was a good book except for the ending. Like I said, I wish the author would have picked a storyline he liked and stuck with it, instead of starting and prematurely stopping half a dozen other storylines throughout the course of the book. I would have preferred a more conclusive ending instead of the copout ending he chose.