Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: "The Land of Later On"

I was pretty excited to read Anthony Weller's The Land of Later On. It wasn't a book anyone had recommended to me; it was one I happened across on Amazon and thought looked interesting. I had high hopes that I had found a real winner all on my own.

It was average. I don't regret reading it, but I wouldn't read it again. That is saying something, because I am an avid book re-reader. Good thing it was inexpensive and is on my Kindle, not taking up valuable space on my actual bookshelf.

You know that Seinfeld episode where George sends Jerry to get a book he left at his ex-girlfriend's apartment and it turns into a whole fiasco? Jerry doesn't see what the big deal is because George won't read it again and people just collect books as a prestige thing. Totally not true in my case. I'll re-read books (mostly series) numerous times and enjoy them every time.

Anyway, the book was fine, I just wasn't able to get totally immersed in it. Weller's writing is interesting and fluid,  but I wasn't pulled in as I am with  books I love. The protagonist, Kip, writes his account of The Land of Later On (aka the afterlife). His wife has died years before him, and he commits suicide to be with her again. Weller's depiction of the afterlife was definitely new to me.

He describes it similarly to the regular world, except you can travel any where and any when. As in, you can visit any place in the world in any time period you choose, even exact dates in history. Kip is on a desperate search for his wife because people are subtly urged to reincarnate themselves and not remain in the afterlife. Kip's quest seems impossible, of course, because his wife has been there for years, and could literally be anywhere in the world, and maybe not even in the current year, let alone century. It's devastating to think of yourself trying to locate someone in those circumstances.

Luckily, he meets Walt Whitman (yeah, that was a neat twist) and is guided and aided by him in his search. The premise of the book is really intriguing and romantic in a bleak, morbid sort of way. It was an interesting read, and pretty out of the norm for me, so I was pleased with that. As I said, I didn't dislike it; I just wouldn't spend the time reading it again.

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