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, Contemporary, Science Fiction, Adult Fiction, Abandoned

Reviews The Afterlives

  • Cheri
    “ Buddha and Moses and all the nosesFrom narrow to flatHad to stand in the lineJust to glimpse the divineWhat’cha think about that?Well, it seems like our fateTo suffer and wait for the knowledge we seekIt’s all His designNo one cuts in the lineNo one here likes a sneakYou got to fill out a form firstAnd then you wait in the lineYou got to fill out a form firstAnd then you wait in the line -- The Afterlife, Paul Simon, Songwriter: Paul Simo...
  • Ken
    Part ghost story, part love story, part philosophical/scientific time-travel mishmash, Thomas Pierce's The Afterlives has a little something for everyone. If you like reading plot books that highlight relationships, or wonder a lot about theories of death and existence and "daisy holes" (as they're called here) separating present from past from future, eureka! You've found your book!For me, a fun pleasure read, which I don't often treat myself to...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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. ** Spoilers ahead ** 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...
  • 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...
  • Caitlin
    Rating: All of the stars!!!!! There are no words!!Recommended for: Everyone who wonders what's next or enjoys the big questions or loves to see the gorgeous in the plain mundane everydayness of life or those who like their sci-fi light and sprinkled with a very contemporary feel.Totally fangirling right now!
  • Dax
    I fell victim to strong marketing. The main character is dull, the story is boring, and the dialogue is adjective heavy. Reads like a YA novel. Case in point in why I plan to be much more leery about new releases moving forward.
  • Amber (ItsJustAmbr)
    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...
  • 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.
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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.
  • Lori
    I was pretty convinced this was a 3 book, which for me still means quite good, but the last 1/4 really upped it and I’m left feeling adrift. I want to reread the ending, and I want to discuss with someone, wah!
  • Tracie Gutknecht
    First off, I think the cover is stupid. There is a thing about the dog in the book, but like the book, it doesn't really convey the message of the story.Jim Byrd dies for a few minutes and remembers absolutely nothing, no white lights, no dead family members visiting, nothing but blank/blackness. He is given a heartnet which keeps his heart beating and is a replacement to a pacemaker, but with a battery life of 200 years. Thus, conceivably his he...
  • Jason
    It's tough not to think of Don Delillo's masterwork White Noise here. Both books expound on humanity's fear of death and on our mundane technological and consumerist distractions designed to mitigate this fear. And both are very funny despite their weighty subject matter. What's different is, of course, the 30 years that have elapsed between the two works. While Delillo's book was informed by 1980s Cold War dread and the fear of nuclear annihilat...
  • Anne
    Early on I was thinking of ditching this book because I was struggling to connect with the main character, but I usually like to try and get to page 50, unless the writing is utter drivel. The writing here was solid and so I pressed on. Good Lord I'm glad I did!! This might end up being one of my favorites of 2018. It falls snuggly in the capital "L" section of Literary Fiction, in that it discusses Big Themes (in this case death and what happens...
  • Nikki
    I really enjoyed this book. it has elements of paranormal and science fiction but doesn't feel like a paranormal or science fiction novel. Mostly it reads like a regular story which occasional odd things happening. I found it to be an easy and quick read. I really liked the flow of the book and the characters (who all seem just slightly weird enough to be pretty normal). I mostly loved the book's idea of what the afterlife is like. Having lost so...
  • 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.
  • Bob Nolin
    The year 2018 is turning out to be the year of DNF. This may be due to my trying new authors, getting outside my comfort zone. The current book was just not drawing me in, and 200 pages in, I'm out. I figured out what's been bugging me: the book reads like nonfiction. You know, the kind of nonfiction written in first person, like an episode of "This American Life," except in this case the first person is boring as hell. If I'm going to listen to ...
  • 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...
  • Alex
    Jim is in his 30s when he has a cardiac arrest and is dead for several minutes before being revived. He doesn't see a bright light, snapshots of his life don't cascade before him, he isn't beckoned forward by loved ones who've passed on. He is disturbed by this lack, and this leads him to an emotional journey about what death is, what life is, what consciousness and the soul might be. He meets a woman and marries her. His father dies. He reads a ...
  • 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 ...