Second Lives

P.D. Cacek. Flame Tree, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-78758-159-3
In this flawed but fascinating novel, four people in modern-day Los Angeles die at the same time, in the same hospital, only to reawaken claiming to be completely different people who died decades ago. Helen, Sara, Jamie, and Henry’s deaths have barely sunk in when four untethered souls of people who died sudden, violent deaths somehow take possession of the empty bodies. The “Travelers,” as they come to be called, struggle to adjust to this unexpected new lease on a life out of time, while the bereaved friends and family of the people whose corpses they now inhabit try to make peace with the interlopers. Jumping between past and present, and among the heads of multiple characters, with impressive skill, Cacek (The Wind Caller) captures the raw, human messiness of grief through a series of meditations on loss, compassion, trauma, and rebuilding. Not all of the four story lines are of equal quality, however, and the author’s evident desire to end them all on a similar note leads to some of the conclusions feeling forced and overly convenient. Readers will find this a rewarding exploration of the emotions felt both by those confronting their own deaths and those left behind to mourn. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/24/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-78758-157-9
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