The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce

The Afterlives

A love story that asks: what happens after we die? The debut novel from National Book Award 5 Under 35 Winner and author of the “ridiculously good” (New York Times) collection Hall of Small Mammals.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 h...

Details The Afterlives

TitleThe Afterlives
Release DateJan 9th, 2018
PublisherRiverhead Books
GenreFiction, Adult Fiction, Science Fiction

Reviews The Afterlives

  • Jessica Sullivan
    Following a near-death experience during which he technically died for several minutes, 33-year-old Jim Byrd becomes hyper-aware of his own mortality. Death seems to be everywhere. There's a ghost haunting a restaurant owned by one of his clients. He even lives in a retirement town where "old people come to die."Consumed by his uncertainty about what happens in the afterlife (and convinced from his own experience that the answer is nothing) Jim a...
  • Blair
    This is a peculiar book, and I liked it but I'm not quite sure what to make of it. From the start I found the narrator offputting, but whenever I thought I might as well give up, something hooked me and pulled me back in – a story about a ghost on a staircase that's titled 'The Tale of the Dog on Fire'; an organisation called 'the Church of Search' which has holograms giving inspirational talks; historical chapters that move back and forth thro...
  • Ron Charles
    Thomas Pierce approaches the interplay of technology and immortality with considerable subtlety in his debut novel, "The Afterlives." The story opens as 33-year-old Jim Byrd is revived from sudden cardiac arrest. He is happy to be back but dismayed that during the minutes he was technically dead he “saw nothing. No light, no tunnels, no angels.” That would seem to snuff out prospects for the great beyond. Yet Jim, a loan officer, ends up appr...
  • Art
    I work in an independent book shop and we have countless ARCs at our disposal. I'm always looking for an interesting read by an author I have never heard of. I found a little gem in this one. This is a quiet, but very engaging, story with likable and believable characters. There is also a ghost story within the story that stands on its own. After a near death experience, the main character becomes obsessed with the afterlife and what it may hold ...
  • Tyler Goodson
    Jim's new life begins when he almost dies, a life in which he finds love, hears a ghost, meets a psychic, and tries to find out what happens after we die. His journey leads him through life, death, and in between, but for Jim, the questions keep coming. What does it mean to lose? Or to move on after loss? Pierce has written a brilliantly imaginative and beautiful novel about the big, impossible questions, fear of the unknown, and the people who k...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    Pierce is not afraid to confront the big questions about life, death and the thereafter in THE AFTERLIVES. His exploration of mortality and technology was particularly interesting (holograms are terrifying). How do we live when we know we will die, everyone we love will die, everyone who loves us will die? How? It’s unbearable and yet we face it each and every day. This book is definitely for those of us who spend a lot of time thinking these t...
  • Amber (JewellReads)
    I finished this the other day and I have mixed feelings about it. The premise was good. I was super interested in this book the first 3 parts of the book and then I found myself falling asleep while reading. Not highlighting or tabbing anymore. I became a bit bored in the last 2 parts. This story follows a man named Jim who dies for a bit after having a heart attack. Once surviving he was mad because he didn’t see like a light or angels while h...
  • Jonathan
    I wish this book had been a little less Straight White Dude in its perspective. The writing is great, especially in how genuinely it earns its emotional payoffs, but at the end of the day what I couldn't shake off was the disappointment in how obvious and boring the narrator's problems were. He's another white dude concerned with mortality but only in a philosophical sense, which speaks to his relative safety and comfort living in the world. I'm ...
  • Jovy
    I really wanted to like this book. I read the synopsis and was so excited when I finally got my hands on it! However, this book ended up putting me to sleep. I couldn't get into it at all. I enjoyed the main character's thoughts but unfortunately none of it was memorable. It also doesn't help that the book is divided five parts with no chapters within each section to help you digest the story easier.
  • Myles
    Jim Byrd died of heart failure. He was revived in time and being a young man suffered no lasting damage. After the installation of a new device to monitor his heart he makes a full recovery. What gnaws at him is the fact that he has no memories of his experience. He saw no light at the end of the tunnel and he realizes he needs to know what, if anything, happens after death. Following a whim he comes into contact with a haunted house and, coincid...
  • Sarah Tittle
    3.5 stars. I like what Pierce is doing here--exploring how technology has changed the way we think about death, or at least the way we think about what happens after we die. I like the fact that the main character is an average-Joe-type person, and I like the setting (maybe only because that part of the world is familiar to me). But after a big warm up, I grew increasingly disappointed with this story. Maybe it's the hologram twist and the way it...
  • Uriel Perez
    A tender and often comical telling of one man's quest to discover the existence and depths of the afterlife — a journey that takes Jim Byrd to New Age churches, into an investigation of a haunted staircase, and in pursuit of a physicist who may or may not have constructed a machine with the ability to bring us in contact with the deceased. Thomas Pierce's first novel is layered with heart, humor and tremendous revelations concerning our technol...
  • Katherine Moore
    This book almost defies description and I'm still basically 'speechless' upon finishing. Yes, I can say it's a fictional novel (unless author Pierce knows things we don't!), but then I can tell you all the different genres and subjects it touches: fantasy, the supernatural/ghosts, sci-fi and aliens, relationships, religion and the question of God, conspiracy theories, and the biggest question of all - what happens to us all when we die.The novel ...
  • Abby
    Thomas Pierce brings all the components of a good story to the table: humor, empathy, and ingenuity. I lapped up this creative and touching novel, flying through it as I was flying home over the Pacific Ocean. Jim and Annie build a life together and wander through a future that does not feel too far away from us now. I'll be thinking about them and the elements of their story for days and weeks to come. The future of American fiction, honestly, f...
  • Melissa Rochelle
    This novel defies description. It's a ghost story. It's futuristic. It's a love story. It's science fiction. It’s a mix of all of that and somehow comes together into a cohesive story that I really enjoyed.
  • Elaine
    The Afterlives has a quirky, off-beat premise that caught my attention when I read the synopsis. Unfortunately, the premise was the most interesting thing about it.After a near death experience, thirty-three year old Jim Byrd embarks on a quest to find the meaning of life. Is there an afterlife? Do we live on after death? Does it matter?These deep, existential questions fall flat when we meet Jim Byrd, a boring, dull, bland white male who lacks ...
  • Nick
    What is next for us after death? The Afterlives' Jim Byrd, struggles with this question after suffering a heart attack, and dying at the age of 33. Given a second chance by advances in technology and medicine, Byrd sets out to find answers, all while living a more meaningful life.In The Afterlives, Thomas Pierce creates a world filled with ghosts, holograms, and old folks. A world abandoning the older generations, and flirting with the future. Th...
  • Olivia
    This was a surprisingly clever book that used the rapid development of technology to explore big subjects: the meaning of life, ghosts, the afterlife, religion. In this story, technology that already exists in our world evolves. Sometimes dangerous, always disruptive to the social order. It was amazing to me just how well Pierce engages with these questions through the story of Jim and Annie. It was quirky and well written. My one critique would ...
  • Cletus Van
    This booked echoed many thoughts I've had in my life. I absolutely loved The Afterlives, I didn't want the story to end. It was poetic, insightful, funny, generous, and a little futuristic. Full of faith and doubt and complex characters. It left me reminiscing about vignettes in my life for days on end.
  • Cristine Mcguire
    great read, i have been waiting a long time to come across a book like this, that has captived me, and made me get pulled into their world and felt what the characters felt.
  • Onceinabluemoon
    A different book with unique ideas, read until I got scared of the dead dog, picked up the audio next day and it was scary good, glad i had stopped, the staticky audio would have haunted me in the middle of the night. Sounds like hologram hell is in our futures too!
  • Ali
    A very interesting premise followed by a strong build-up towards what I'd call a lackluster pay-off in the end. I read Pierce's debut story collection last year and loved his voice. However, I couldn't find it in this book which comes off overly edited to my liking. Writing feels stiff, the dialogues are somewhat contrived with obvious authorial injections about the state of the world. The voice is just not there.
  • Andrienne
    Holograms, marriage, ghosts and death figure prominently in this well-thought of story. Great flow of writing and feels a bit literary sci-fi to me. Fans of All Our Wrong Today's by Mastai will find lots to like here.Review copy provided by the publisher
  • MollyK
    Goodreads winner *** Uncorrected ARCSo, I love a good mash up in a novel. I have won and read 3 phenomenal ones this year. I have been thinking of them as my 2017 Ghost Story Tryptic. The first was The Next by Stephanie Gangi. Then A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow. Now I have The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce.It’s so fun to win books from author’s you never heard of and delve into a story with little or no expectation. But for a w...
  • Will
    "The Afterlives" is a very good blend of metaphysical, spooky, and fun. Its author, Thomas Pierce, simply relates somewhat complex theories on death and existence, all the while moving two fairly entertaining, interwoven plots forward. It's an impressive feat, and an enjoyable read. The novel's protagonist, Jim Byrd, is a 30-something year-old man, who has recently suffered a near-death experience (or, more accurately, an experience where he was,...
  • Charlie Smith
    Jim Byrd, 33, died --- technically --- having collapsed in a parking garage from a heart attack. Once revived, he is disappointed to have seen nothing while deceased; no tunnel with its bright light calling him, or deceased relatives to guide him, or any hint of any afterlife at all.Which leaves him with just life. Real life. And a device called HeartNet embedded in his chest which sends to his phone warnings and notice when his heartbeat is off,...
  • Ian Mond
    I initially compared The Afterlives to Black Mirror because of its near future setting but it’s nothing like that. For one, the novel isn’t as plot-driven as your regular Black Mirror episode and for two, it’s certainly no-where near as miserable or dark. Yes, The Afterlives deals intimately with death but only by focusing on the mundane activity of life. Jim begins the novel having been dead for five minutes, a shocking, awful experience, ...
  • Mieke Mcbride
    I've got to say-- I really enjoyed this book. I found the main character a little annoying, the philosophy inherent in the book pretty hooky, and spent the whole book thinking, "um, so I guess there's no plot?" But even with all of that (which I admit, doesn't read like a ringing endorsement), this book was very enjoyable and hard to put down. It's set in the not-so-distant future, and much of the book deals with how subtle advancements in techno...
  • Madeline Partner
    As a few other reviewers have described, this story is a lot of different things all mashed together in a very satisfying manner. After dying for five minutes and seeing no heavenly light and angels singing, Jim Byrd slowly becomes obsessed with death and the afterlife. He constantly thinks of a question that nags us all at some point--what happens with you die? After he stumbles upon a haunted staircase, he becomes convinced that this staircase,...
  • Ellyn Lem
    After hearing tonight about the untimely death of a respected colleague of mine, I hope that some of the ideas in this novel "The Afterlivers" have validity and there are ways to connect with people after they have died. The book begins with the main character Jim who has a heart problem and passes away for a short time before he is brought back to life and must monitor his heart on a phone app. The rest of the plot is somewhat hard to explain, b...