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Among the Dead

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  142 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Michael Tolkin's acclaimed second novel, Among the Dead, is an arresting examination of public and private grief in the wake of unspeakable disaster, a slow-burning tour de force of psychological fiction. When Frank Gale writes a passionate letter to his wife confessing an affair, he hopes all can be forgiven on the warm beaches of Mexico. But the farewell kiss of his girl ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 10th 2002 by Grove Press (first published 1993)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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 ·  142 ratings  ·  10 reviews

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Rick Urban
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of dark, dark comedy that I love, the kind that makes people give me strange looks and ask what's wrong with me. As far as I'm concerned, "Among the Dead" ranks right up there with Fay Weldon's "The Life and Loves of a She-Devil" as one of the great comic novels of moral degradation and its many indignities. Frank Gale is an absolute snake who is plotting how to reveal his infidelities to his wife in order to minimize the damage to himself and maximize his personal happiness. Th ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I remember reading a line by David Mamet once where he said that good drama is not about nice things happening to nice people. Character likability is a overrated and overstated "virtue" in the narrative arts (are Captain Ahab, Patrick Bateman, Travis Bickle, or Richard III nice or likable fellows?). People often say, "that character wasn't likable, therefore the novel/film/play was bad." I disagree. Frank Gale in Among the Dead is not a paragon of moral virtue; he is selfish, shallow, imprudent ...more
Rachael Hewison
Nov 30, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
I honestly do not know why this book was ever published. It is one of the worst books I have ever read. Deceived by a very interesting blurb, I purchased it from my local charity shop. Now I know why it was there.
None of the characters are likeable and I immediately detested the main character. He was an extremely disturbing man, who is unemotional at the deaths of his family. Instead of grieving he is more concerned with his ailing career and the outward persona he creates. There is also one ot
Mar 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like black humor
Recommended to Joanne by: Dick Estell, the Radio Reader
A man who has been cheating on his wife loses her and his young daughter in a plane crash. Hilarious hijinks ensue, along with labyrinthine journeys through the narrator's mind as he explores alternate pasts and futures that reveal him to be a pathetic loser with low self-esteem, or maybe just human. I've read this one about three times; it's perhaps not the most realistic portrayal of grief and loss, but it's hysterical if you can handle it.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Harrowing and bleak and ugly. Also, funny as hell. I found it comforting (or, more accurately, "comforting") to read so accurate a depiction of my own uncontrollable thoughts of what-if, maybe-if-I-had, and if-only during crisis.
Teri Rutledge
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Uuugh...this one was a struggle for me to get through.
Christine Palau
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm guessing that many people start this book because of the synopsis, thinking this would be a cathartic companion piece to something schmaltzy like THE DESCENDANTS (to be fair, I only saw the movie). Those people must hate AMONG THE DEAD.

If there was even an inkling of sentimentality here it went down with the plane. The set-up is seemingly simple: LA man cheats on wife, but decides he wants to work on marriage, and calls off his affair; he writes a letter to wife explaining that he cheated, b
Jeff Gillenkirk
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I seem to be on a roll with biting, satirical novel (see review of "Erasure").

This is a brilliant study of a man-in-decline, with interior monologues that singe the soul. Tolkin is the author of "The Player" and writer/director of the close-to-the-bone film, "The Rapture." Protagonist Frank Gale misses a flight that his wife and 3-year-old daughter are on, because he lingered too long over his last lunch with his mistress. When the flight from LA to Mexico crashes in San Diego, Frank Gale's psy
Oct 05, 2007 rated it it was ok
I don't know if I should finish this book because I don't like it, but would like to know where it's going. Often I find myself rolling my eyes and thinking the author clearly hasn't experienced any tragedy like the one he writes about.
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Michael Tolkin is an American filmmaker and novelist. He has written numerous screenplays, including The Player (1992), which he adapted from his 1988 book by the same name, and for which he received the 1993 Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. A follow-up book, Return of the Player, was published in 2006.

Tolkin was born in New York City, New York, the son of Edith, a studio executive,

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