Friday, 27 May 2011

The American Book of the Dead

The American Book of the DeadTitle: Henry Baum
Author: The American Book of the Dead


Score: 10/10


I have no idea how the author of this book could have remained sane. Perhaps he didn't. This is one of the most complex books I've read - yet is remarkably easy to understand. I don't know how it does it. Somehow it tricks your brain into thinking without you realising or something. It's a book about a writer who writes a book that he's already written which is the book that you'd be reading if you read this book. Try not to think about that too much. It's basically a summary of the introduction - which I found confusing until I'd read the rest of the book. This review doesn't quite do it justice, but IT IS definitely worth a read.

Chances are you won't have read anything like it before (If anyone has, let me know), and it's an interesting experience. It's a pretty unique book - lots of people have tried and failed to classify it. I have no idea what genre it. I'm saying Sci-fi because it kind of is, but I'm also putting it on the general fiction blog. But whatever genre it is, I think it would appeal to anyone interested in books about any one of: apocalypse, religion, dreams, psychics, politics or humanity - amongst many more.

Now I'm actually interested in all of them except psychics, but it's the last one that really made this book for me. OK, so the introduction makes little sense until you finish the book. But the first chapter, one of my favourites, really appealed to me because it was honest. The character has feelings he shouldn't have, dreams he's embarrassed about, and a daughter that's better at logic than him. It seems to me that this character is the essence of humanity. He's realistic, and he doesn't try to hide it.

The religion, the politics, the apocalypse. All of it is interesting, but it was this reflection of humanity in the novel is what really makes it stand out. In fact, there is only one thing that I didn't like in the book. The Daughter of the main character, Sophia. Not the character of Sophia - actually the opposite. I felt that she should have been in it more. She's the focus of chapter one, and then sort of vanishes for a while. she shows up every now and again - including the scene on page 129 - which I thought could have done with a lot more emotional detail. But I felt she should have been around more.

But other than this one detail, I really enjoyed the book. It was exciting, confusing, complex, and actually quite believable in parts. If Baum had used his name for the main character, I think I would be terrified that it could come true. But it's an entertaining book, and one that would be an interesting read for anyone.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 1 Male
Main Antagonist(s): 2 Male
Main Relationships: Heterosexual, but it's not about relationships
Genre: Apocolyptic Sci-Fi, Religious Fiction, General Fiction.
Brief Synopsis:

Eugene Myers is working on a novel about the end of the world. Meanwhile, he discovers his daughter doing porn online and his marriage is coming to an end. When he begins dreaming about people who turn out to be real, he wonders if his novel is real as well. Which isn’t good news: the radical and demented President Winchell is bent on bringing about worldwide destruction. Eugene Myers may just be the one to stop the apocalypse.

This history of the future covers every conspiracy imaginable: UFOs, secret societies, and World War III, as well as theories on life after death and human evolution. In the tradition of Philip K. Dick and Robert Anton Wilson, The American Book of the Dead explores the nature of reality and the human race’s potential to either disintegrate or evolve.


ISBN: 978-0-578-02693-0
Amazon Link: UK | US
Pages: 234
Published: 2009
Publisher: Backword Books

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