Tag Archives: Life & Death

Review: Zero K

Zero K

Zero K
By Don DeLillo
Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781501135392, May 2016, 288pp.

The Short of It:

Death is inevitable but some choose sooner, rather than later.

The Rest of It:

This is the second book I’ve read this year about cryogenics. I’m not sure why my attention flits over to that subject every now and then but when it does, I find myself fascinated by the topic and this book was no exception.

Jeffrey finds himself supporting his stepmother’s decision to be cryogenically preserved. You see, Artis is dying anyway, but she’s chosen to give her body to science and unfortunately for Jeffrey, Jeffrey’s father has decided to join her in death.

This story explores the idea that there is a purity in death that cannot be achieved in life. For me, the purity aspect is further supported by the clinical nature of the procedure itself. There is a starkness to it, a coldness if you will. Everything is sterile and clinical and without fanfare. The body stripped of clothes is just a body. No longer father or mother but just skin and bones and a glimmer of what used to be.

This book reminded me a lot of Never Let Me Go.  I felt somewhat detached while reading it but it’s not nearly as depressing or dark. This has a much more positive feel to it, although you have a dig to find the positivity within it.

Some of the writing really made me think about civilization as it stands now. How do the events of the past shape the future? How can the decisions we make as a society today, impact us later in life?

Overall, this was a good, interesting read but it’s a little deep and I may not have gotten all of the meaning behind it. There were times where I could not tell if something was happening for real or if it was in a dream or some created reality. It’s that kind of book.

Have you read it?

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The New World

The New World

The New World
By Chris Adrian; Eli Horowitz
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374221812, May 2015, 224pp.

The Short of It:

A strange, surreal story about love and marriage.

The Rest of It:

From Indiebound:

The New World” is the story of a marriage. Dr. Jane Cotton is a pediatric surgeon; her husband, Jim, is a humanist chaplain. They are about to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary when Jim suddenly collapses and dies. When Jane arrives at the hospital, she is horrified to find that her husband’s head has been removed from his body. Only then does she discover that he secretly enrolled with a shadowy cryogenics company called Polaris.

Goodness.

What did I just read?

I’ve been wanting to read this book for months now. On Twitter, Care mentioned the iTunes app that was created for the book which of course made me decide on the spot to read it with her. I did not purchase the app myself. Instead, I read the Kindle book but it was one of the strangest reading experiences I’ve had and I’ve read Murakami!

Things happen. Jim’s revitalized self in the future spends a great deal of time hanging on to memories from the past. Mostly, of his wife, Jane. Even though Jane was not a perfect wife. Jane, spends her time trying to sabotage Polaris in order to set Jim’s mind free.

What makes this book such a trip is you never really know what is happening and when it happening. Is it a dream? Or a memory or thought planted by Polaris? Is it happening in the future… the past or the present? With Jim, this is easier to ascertain since there is a moment when he is in fact, without his head.

This is a very short book but full, and I mean full of beautiful passages but reading this book made me feel  as if I was trying to read it while OD’ing on Benadryl. It has a sleepy feel to it. Dreamy, I guess. I felt sedated the entire time I was reading which is really strange because Jane’s part of the story is kind of frantic and urgent but somehow, I hung with Jim in his headless limbo.

I’m not even going to try to pick apart what I read in order to understand it. All you need to know is that it’s about marriage, the love between two people and maybe how the guilt of certain actions can shape a person.

Would I recommend it? Yes, if you are looking for something completely different (and short) I recommend it but know going in that it’s a bit of a mind trip.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.