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What Dreams May Come

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,733 Ratings  ·  693 Reviews
The New York Times bestseller

A LOVE THAT TRANSCENDS HEAVEN AND HELL

What happens to us after we die? Chris Nielsen had no idea, until an unexpected accident cut his life short, separating him from his beloved wife, Annie. Now Chris must discover the true nature of life after death.

But even Heaven is not complete without Annie, and when tragedy threatens to divide them forev
...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Tor Books (first published 1977)
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I Only Watched the Movie!
256th out of 921 books — 5,381 voters
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The MOVIE was BETTER than the BOOK
252nd out of 840 books — 9,027 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Becky
I am going to start this review by talking about the one thing that caused this to be a 4-star book rather than a 5-star book. That one thing is the author's note at the beginning.

Now, I almost never read author's notes or introductions, because I find that they inevitably ruin some aspect of the book for me. Whether it is a spoiler, or an introducer's opinion which causes me to think of the book in a certain way, or interpret things in a certain way, or whatever the case may be, it lessens my
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Nataliya
As hard as I tried to make myself care about this book and its characters, I just could not.

First of all, it is very tedious, with too much exposition and endless infodumps in the dialogue form. The story gets so bogged down in the exposition that it becomes very dull to follow. At times it reads like a technical manual, with dry and repetitive narration. In this book, Matheson for the most part tells instead of showing, which makes it hard for me to enjoy the story. The characters are poorly fl
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Bill
Feb 04, 2008 Bill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I picked this one up after I finished Barbara Gowdy's stories mainly because it was short and I wanted something quick to read and Hannibal wasn't being released for another couple of days. What a find.

This is the novel that the movie of the same name is based upon, starring Robin Williams. In the introduction, Matheson explains that the only fiction in this story are the characters and their relationships. The rest came from intensive research on the subject. The end product
makes so much sense
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Shark
Jan 08, 2008 Shark rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Anyone who is running low on decent reading material
This book begins with an immediate fallacy: the author gives an introduction claiming that all events that occur in the book are true-to-life (though shown through fictional characters). This reminded me of Dan Brown's similar claims in "The Da Vinci Code." The problem here is that theological supernature is impossible to prove simply through research. Given that science and other such worldly ventures are based in what limited PHYSICAL proof we have, I don't believe for a second that someone ca ...more
Brian
Oct 13, 2015 Brian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy, 2015, drama
(My fan went out on my laptop again so I'm writing this from my iPhone. So if I misspell or something...)

I loved, absolutely loved this beautiful story. I don't agree with the theology. I'm a Christian. Nuf said bout that. The story reads like a myth or legend, and symbolism abounds for the lives we live. THE POWER OF LOVE. That phrase describes the theme. A man dies and goes to a heaven-like place. He wants his wife to come, but learns she has condemned herself to the lower regions through suic
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Stacie
May 31, 2009 Stacie rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
Life on earth is only a panorama of vivid observations which seem real to you.

What happens after we die is a question people wonder about. The afterlife is debated about between the numerous religions in the world. This was Matheson's look at what that afterlife is like and how we affect what it will be. His running mantra throughout is that it is all in the mind...what we think, whether dead or alive, makes a difference to our lives and our deaths.

But, this was also a love story...It was a swee
...more
Katherine
Sep 09, 2008 Katherine rated it really liked it
What was most fascinating to me was how well researched (though it's fiction) the book was. People who are familiar with "new age" and scientific discoveries on research into the afterlife from different perspectives won't fail to recognize many influences into this story. In addition, Matheson adds a bibliography of all the books he read before writing this work.

What most find memorable and touching about the story, which is the story of the way people who love each other strongly cope with lif
...more
Rachel
Dec 07, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
This book was VERY different from the movie, though much of it was very similar. The book shies away from the idea of a "God", where as the movie has very heavy theological tones and even goes so far as to state that there is a God. I can't really say which one I liked better. I feel like the movie was was so... well, moving. It is difficult to watch it and not cry most of the way through it. The book is a far more intellectual endeavor, no doubt aided by the hefty reference material in the bibl ...more
Kerry Connelly
Amazing,Inspiring,Life changing.
Whether you choose to view this remarkable manuscript as a work of non-fiction or the latter, two things can be said. Richard Matheson is either a literary GENIOUS or this is the book EVERYONE has been waiting to read,yet may not know it.
A remarkable book which was meant for me to read. It has reinstated my faith in the afterlife, helped in understanding of certain elements of what I believe to be involved with the process of the afterlife, as well as incorporate
...more
Chelsie
Aug 12, 2007 Chelsie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who can read
This book is a very interesting look at life after death. It is a wonderful tale of love, overcoming all obstacles, including loss of loved ones and death. I like this book because despite the main characters(Chris and Annie), being soul mates they are not perfect. They almost go through a divorce, and the author manages to make them more real by doing this. Death and loss are some of they great mysteries of life, and I think this book does an exceptional job at trying to comfort us, and give us ...more
Doğan Kaytan
Bu kitap hakkında notlarımı tutarken sevdiğim ve cidden rahatsız olduğum konular hakkında notlarımı madde madde paylaşacağım. Sevdiğim kısımları kitap bitince yazacağım tabi elle tutulur bir şeyler çıkarsa o da.

Kitaptan soğutan etkenler
Adam ölmüş. Üzerinden bi dolu sayfa geçmiş hala, "Ben ölmedim" modunda. Abi sen neyin kafasındasın bi gel hele, konuşak seninle.

Neyse uzun bir sürenin ardından cennete gittik. Cennet'te fos çıktı. Akrabalar, ölen köpeklerim filan. Ben cenneti daha seksi bi yer ola
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Michael
Many of Richard Matheson's short stories and novels take a supernatural premise and make it relatable through the use of the characters and their reactions to it.

This isn't the case with Matheson's What Dreams May Come. The novel is Matheson's attempt to look at what happens to us after death and while it's interesting, I never felt like it necessarily connected with me in the same way that other Matheson novels and short stories have.

Driving home, Chris Nielsen is killed in a car accident. Aft
...more
Adam
Mar 17, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it
What a supremely stirring--and strange--story...

Imagine that someone decided to research the most intricately detailed depictions of the afterlife from several religions, merged these ideas together into a cohesive whole, and wrote a tale about a man and his unbreakable love for his wife set in a fantastical setting utilizing said research. Now imagine that the man responsible for this story is mostly known for tales of horror and the macabre. That's exactly what you get with Richard Matheson's
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bookczuk
I really liked Somewhere in Time (originally published under another title) by Matheson, so despite disliking the video of this movie, I was looking forward to reading it. I was disappointed.

The cover of the book proclaims "After life there is more...The end is just the beginning", a sentiment I firmly believe. But I was sorely disappointed in this book. I found it depressing and irritating. However, I remembered I didn't like the beginning of that other novel of Matheson's, which I ended up rea
...more
Lisa
Jun 18, 2014 Lisa rated it it was ok
I really wanted to stay on board with this character, Chris, and his adventures in the lands beyond death. The story is exciting, especially in the beginning, and has some gorgeous imagery (I love the "delicate purl of surf" Chris notices on the shore of the lake in Summerland). The story grows more tedious as it progresses and is so didactic that it gets boring and seems to go on for....well...yep, an eternity. Ann's helplessness and goodness is annoying, too, frankly. I was completely disguste ...more
Katie
Nov 21, 2014 Katie rated it it was amazing
This is a book that has been on my shelf since, well, I got my first bookshelf at age 8. It was one of the many hand-me-downs my mother bestowed to me to get my collection started. For this reason, I may be slightly biased, but I am and will always remain adamant in my love for this book.

I read it for the first time when I was ten or eleven, I can't remember specifically, and it was miles over my head at that time. Which is why I am so glad I came back to it now, when my mind can better compreh
...more
Heidi Garrett
May 21, 2013 Heidi Garrett rated it really liked it
After watching the movie and reading reviews that said the book was better than the movie, I was very excited to read this book. However for me, the book wasn't better than the movie. I really wanted it to be, but I found the book cerebral, while the movie was quite emotional. The book is divided into three sections. The first and third sections are a bit too new-agey for my tastes. I enjoyed the middle section the most. But the end was rather preachy. I just don't believe that we are responsibl ...more
Henrik
Jan 20, 2013 Henrik rated it it was amazing
This book is a love story between a man and woman, and a very intimate, believable one, at that. Add to that a wrestling with the large questions of life, death, existence and reality on a metaphysical scale, and you know this is an ambitious novel.

There are many things in the story I do not believe in, and that, if the introduction is to be trusted, the author believes in, and there are reviewers of this novel that think this subtracts from the overall experience of the story. I disagree. The s
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Barbara
Jan 30, 2016 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2003, 2015, favorites
1/1/03
This is one of those books that only provides a very loose basis for the movie. If you pick this book up expecting Robin Williams quips, you'll be sorely disappointed. What Dreams May Come is really more about the author delving into his thoughts about the afterlife. I had a hard time reading more than a few pages at once because my mind would start to churn with thoughts about life after death and it would be impossible to concentrate on the book. But it is an excellent book. Just not one
...more
David
Jan 04, 2010 David rated it really liked it
A beautiful story about how love and the power of imagination can triumph over heaven and hell in the afterlife. Above all, this was a story about romantic love...two soul-mates finding a way to continue embracing each other despite overwhelming odds.

I really enjoyed how this interpretation of the after-life created an atmosphere where the individual soul judges itself, based on thoughts and action during life. One can create his/her own heaven or hell based on one's choice of attitude and evalu
...more
Jeff Miller
May 12, 2013 Jeff Miller rated it it was amazing
For a book with so many heterodox ideas about heaven and the afterlife there is much that should have annoyed me. yet Matheson is such a masterfully engaging writer that such concerns did not distract me from the story. A simple story in some ways of a mans love for his wife and his pursuit of her even after death. Matheson novels always have a personal reality to them that goes beyond the inventive framework of the story. I always feel drawn to his characters because they have so many elements ...more
Nellakii❤
Aug 13, 2015 Nellakii❤ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Μια γλυκοπικρη ιστορια της απολυτης αγαπης,του ερωτα και της αφοσιωσης...
Ιδιαιτερα συγκινητικο,μιλαει στην ψυχη και στην καρδια σου..
Σε βαζει σε σκεψεις και σε κανει να αναρωτιεσαι αν ολα αυτα για τα οποια ο συγγραφεας μιλαει τοσο πειστικα και λογικα,υπαρχουν!
Η αληθινη αγαπη παντα βρισκει τον δρομο της,οτι κι αν γινει,οσα εμποδια η οσες ζωες κι αν τη χωριζουν..Αν μια φορα βρεις τον ανθρωπο σου,το αλλο σου μισο, τοτε ποτε μη φοβηθεις οτι θα τον χασεις..Μπορει να μην το ξερεις,να μην το θυμασαι κα
...more
Eddie Whitlock
Feb 21, 2013 Eddie Whitlock rated it it was ok
I think the most surprising thing is that I looked up Richard Matheson to see when he died. And he hasn’t!

This is not his usual horror writing. This is a look at the Afterlife.

It was interesting, but far longer than necessary. Though he gave slow detail on many aspects of the worlds of the dead, he glossed over some of the more challenging spots with elusive “You aren’t ready to know that” obfuscations.

I don’t believe in an Afterlife. I wish I could. I read this book hoping to. It just didn’t
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Tommi
Apr 02, 2008 Tommi rated it it was amazing
I've just finished a fantastic book. Chris is killed in a car accident and leaves his "soul mate" Ann on earth. Chris enters "heaven" and discovers he can not go on without her. When he learns that his wife has entered "heaven" early he risks his soul to save her from her own trapped mind.

The author claims this story was written by his brother who died and translated it though a psychic. Is he telling the truth? Is this story a complete work of fiction? It's left for the reader to decide.
Rob Slaven
Dec 18, 2013 Rob Slaven rated it liked it
I picked this book up at ye olde used bookstore because I had a substantial credit and figured I would give it a shot. In the end... I could have done better with my $5.99.

This book has been reviewed to death so I will dispense with my usual Positives/Negatives format. To me this book was just way too soft and fluffy. It meandered too much into the ethereal plane of voodoo witchcraft randomness. Rather than trying to tell a story it spent much of the text trying to explain how things work comple
...more
Matthew Marcus
Feb 05, 2016 Matthew Marcus rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alicia
Jan 24, 2016 Alicia rated it it was amazing
Why did I put off reading this book for so long?

That's actually easy to answer. After losing my Dad I thought reading, in detail, about a man dying in a hospital, leaving his devastated family behind, and slowly moving into the afterlife would be difficult for me process.

To be clear, losing my Dad absolutely devastated me. The circumstances surrounding his death prevented me from grieving for the better part of a year. We didn't even get to celebrate his life and have his funeral for 10 months
...more
Megan Lillian
Jan 08, 2011 Megan Lillian rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
I did not like this book. The most upsetting (and I suppose liberating to some) idea presented is that we, as human beings, are destined to create our own heavens and hells simply by our mental patterns. It struck me, as a trained social worker, that it is distinctly unfair that the mentally ill who suffer throughout an entire life time with depression/self-doubt/schizophrenia/etc. are limited by their very diseases to an eternity of post-mortem agony. Upsetting to say the least... If half the w ...more
Daniel Gonçalves
Richard Matheson surely left - after his death in 2013 - an immensely satisfying literary body of work. His novels, although simplistic in nature, tell us about the most basic and fundamental truths in the human race.

What Dreams May Come is one of those books who inspire the reader and make them question their own reality, and even though he departs from research - as he clearly states on the first page - he tries to create a beautiful allegory about the human necessity for believe in an afterl
...more
Robert August
Oct 31, 2014 Robert August rated it liked it
I’ve often been disappointed by a movie based on a book I like. However, when I find that a movie I like is based on a novel I haven’t read, I often find I like the novel. After the death of Robin Williams, I thought about his movie What Dreams May Come. I love this movie, which is based on the novel by Richard Matheson. I’ve loved everything I ever read by Matheson, but had never read What Dreams May Come. So naturally I decided to finally read it.

The book is told from the point of view of Chri
...more
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Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian immigrant parents, Matheson was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943. He then entered the military and spent World War II as an infantry soldier. In 1949 he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in 1951. He married in 1952 and has four children, three of w ...more
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“That which you believe becomes your world.” 2549 likes
“Thank you...for gracing my life with your lovely presence, for adding the sweet measure of your soul to my existence.” 279 likes
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