ann's Reviews > Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

Sum by David Eagleman
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's review
Jul 19, 2009

did not like it

Some of these stories were indeed imaginative scenarios of what the afterlife is like or what God might be like. But because his Heaven or God is always imagined as some inversion of a human hierarchy or gets repetitive very fast. God always lacks some human quality that intrinsically keeps him as God and us as humans, or...he's just like us, but just a smaller or larger scale. Because his Heaven is always some rearranged variation of the human life, all the stories start to sound the same.

Because these stories are so hypothetical and abstract, they become very repetitive and you feel as if he's flogged his one trick pony to death by the end of the book.

I also disliked the author's photo...not his looks, just the photo.

For those who did like it you might want to check out "Pieces for the Left Hand" by John Lennon who writes in a similar deadpan way about everyday life. His stories are imagintave in an engaging in a personal way rather than just hypothetical way.
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05/19/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Cristine So glad I stumbled upon your review. I just posted my own about this being repetitive but wasn't sure bc I can't remember a lot of the stories. Lol

message 2: by meg (new) - rated it 2 stars

meg It did get repetitive. I also felt like it was mostly negative or just plain depressing. I wasn't looking for a happy set of tales, but... eh. I don't know what I expected but I know this wasn't it.

Justin Ann, have you heard the story of the person who gets lost in some cold region of the planet?
While lost, she says if god will save her from this (blizzard, let us say) she will be a believer. Well shortly after that a band of Eskimos happen to come by and take her to safety.
She tells the story to her friends and her friends say "you must certainly be a believer now, right!?"
She says "oh no, it was just some Eskimos that found me."

When you say that "heaven is always some rearranged variation of the human life..." I want to say "what else did you expect but something painted from a human palette?"

Also, if you simply see an "inversion of a human hierarchy" in his cosmologies you are missing some nuance. Two of us may disagree but if we find ourselves exactly diametrically opposed we didn't do the work to see the nuance.
The way I see it, an exact inversion bears almost no additional information over the original.
I found plenty of information in this book.

Ukrit totally agreed, It's shallow, boring and repetitive.

Filemon Tursas Why you disliked the author's photo?

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