Books · Literature · Novels · Reviews

The Brief History Of The Dead

By Kevin Brockmeier

The City is almost like any other city you might care to name, where people work, eat, sleep, go about their business, live and die. But, as I said, “almost like any other city”. There are subtle differences that its inhabitants have to come to terms with after they arrive. Some do it quickly, others take longer.

In The City, something is wrong. People are disappearing but no one knows why or what is causing it. Is there a connection between the people who have vanished and if so, what is it? If no connection can be found between the vanishing people, might there be a connection between those remaining?

At a research station in the Antarctic, funded by the giant global Coca-cola company, the station radio is broken severing communication to home and the rest of the world. Laura is alone in the research satellite station. Her colleagues, Puckett and Joyce had set out on the journey to their Antarctic survey base, to try and obtain the spare parts to get the satellite station radio working again and put them back in communication with the survey base and their company.

Laura’s problem is not just that she is alone at the satellite station but that in addition to the failed radio, the heating system is failing too. How long should she wait for her colleagues, or the rescuers they send, to return? Should Laura go alone to try to reach the survey base?

Is there somehow a connection between the disappearing people in The City and the seemingly doomed Antarctic survey expedition? You will have to read it to find out, because if I say more I will be adding a spoiler in this review.

I knew nothing about this book before finding it by chance, in a charity shop. It cost me the princely sum of £1.00 and had a cover price, for the paperback edition, of £7.99. I got a little lost a couple of times and had to re-read sections. Whilst it isn’t going onto my list of favourites, that I might return to, I would not have felt cheated if I’d paid the full cover price.

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