Julian Barnes

“And what percentage of people take up the option to die off?’ She looked at me, her glance telling me to be calm. ‘Oh, a hundred per cent, of course. Over many thousands of years, calculated by old time, of course. But yes, everyone takes the option, sooner or later.’

‘So it’s just like the first time round? You always die in the end?’

‘Yes, except don’t forget the quality of life here is much better. People die when they decide they’ve had enough, not before. The second time round it’s altogether more satisfying because it’s willed.’ She paused, then added, ‘As I say, we cater for what people want.’

I hadn’t been blaming her. I’m not that sort. I just wanted to find out how the system worked. ‘So … even people, religious people, who come here to worship God throughout eternity … they end up throwing in the towel after a few years, hundred years, thousand years?’

‘Certainly. As I said, there are still a few Old Heaveners around, but their numbers are diminishing all the time.”


Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters
tags: heaven, life
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A History of the World in 10½  Chapters A History of the World in 10½ Chapters by Julian Barnes
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