The First Phone Call from Heaven

Mitch Albom. Harper, $24.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-229437-1
Albom (The Five People You Meet in Heaven) has a nose for “thin places”: places where the boundary between secular and sacred is porous, and ultimate meaning is easier to encounter. In his new novel, Coldwater, Mich., is this thin place, a town where people who have lost loved ones begin receiving phone calls from the dead in heaven. Sully Harding’s wife died while he was in prison, and their young son, Jules, hopes his mom will call, even while Sully smells a hoax. Albom weaves a thread of satire into a narrative braided from the lives of smalltown residents; Coldwater becomes a media hotspot as well as battleground for religious and antireligious zealots, all awaiting the revelation they expect. A historical thread—popping into the narrative like a change-up in baseball—deals with Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone and how the instrument came to be the premier human connector. This brisk, page-turner of a story climaxes at Christmas. Another winner from Albom; this book just about shouts “Give me for a holiday gift.” Agent: David Black, David Black Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/09/2013
Release date: 11/12/2013
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