The Brief History of the Dead

February 21, 2010 at 4:51 pm 9 comments

I think the worst is over as far as this bad cold is concerned. I’ve reached the summit and it goes downhill after that. Take a day or two, I’ll be back to my normal self again.

I spent the last few days holed up in bed. I tried to be a good samaritan and didn’t succumb to the temptation of going out to the mall today and run the risk of spreading the virus with my coughing, sneezing, and nose blowing workouts. I’m sure people will get infected because it’s the season, but it won’t be on my account.

One of the benefits of getting sick is giving you the time to read.

I loved reading ‘The Brief History of the Dead’ by Kevin Brockmeier. I confess this book isn’t for everybody. Its premise is sure to challenge one’s fundamental beliefs.

The story revolves around a future where life on earth has been decimated by a deadly virus. When people die, they go to a place and remain there until the people who have known them in life have also died. When that time comes, they disappear along with their memories.

It has struck a chord in me. I believe that when we die we remain the same as when we were alive. We retain our prejudices, likes, and dislikes. In addition, we stay in a temporary location similar to the one the book describes. However, it’s a place not based on someone else’s memory but rather on our own. It’s a place where we can recreate the town where we were born and the house where we grew up. It’s a place where we can meet the people who have died before us, the people we have loved and cared for and remained in our hearts. It’s a place where we stay until we outgrow it and are ready to face the next challenge.

I also enjoyed reading the book because I can relate to the main characters. They don’t exactly mirror my idiosyncrasies, but they remind me of them. I like to do a lot of walking. I have the habit of eating breakfast standing by the kitchen sink. I play memory games like remembering the names of people i met in the past such as grade school classmates, childhood friends, former teachers, etc. Sometimes it takes me weeks, but they do come back. I like to free a trapped insect even if it’s a fly. Weird, huh?

I think the book should have undergone further editing before it was published. For one thing, a couple of chapters are unnecessary and could be taken out. Still, it’s a good book. I highly recommend it to anybody with an open mind.

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. emilayskie  |  February 22, 2010 at 2:37 am

    I just finished reading Dear John by Nicholas Sparks. I like reading books too but it depends on the season. Whenever I need to be busy with something I wouldn’t bother touching any book but whenever I know I would have lots of idle time I read or most of the time I borrow books from friends.

    I have a different view though of where we go whenever people die. I’m not sure if I would want to read this but in case I can borrow a copy why not. Hehe..

    I’m amazed how you can update your blog so frequently. I miss doing the same.

    • 2. plaridel  |  February 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm


      reading is one of life’s simplest pleasures because we can do it only on our free time. 🙂 if you enjoyed reading ‘dear john’, you may like ‘the art of racing in the rain’ and ‘the book thief’, too. you can read the reviews on the internet. great books. both made me cry again and again.

  • 3. Phoebe Rutaquio  |  February 22, 2010 at 7:59 am

    hey thanks for reading and commenting at my blog. really appreciate it. this looks like a good read too! very interesting. plus, you know how im drawn to book covers. hehe 😀 where did you get this?

    • 4. plaridel  |  February 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm


      i borrowed it from the library. a friend suggested it to me.

  • 5. jeniffer  |  February 23, 2010 at 1:34 am

    hmm.. ganito ang mga interesting na book para sa akin.. mahilig kasi ako sa mga after life, apocalypse, angels, beliefs na mga movies.. pero sabi ng isa kong kakilala na isang atheist. When we died yung memories nawawala din. siguro tama ka po at sa paniniwala ng lahat, na when we died, pumupunta ang kaluluwa natin sa purgatoryo..

    “, we stay in a temporary place similar to the one the book describes.”

    Pero di ako naniniwalang magiistay ka dun, hanggat di mo pa nakakasama yung someone na yun.. ang alam ko, pagkatapos tayo salain sa purgatoryo, tutuloy na tayo dun sa paradise na pangako ng diyos. Doon, sasalubungin mo yung taong next to you na mahal mo.. kung baga, walang waiting shed na doon ka nakatayo ng matagal..

    • 6. plaridel  |  February 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm


      i’m more of a buddhist in my spiritual beliefs now. i believe in reincarnation. death is like a big recess in school. when you die, you stay in a beautiful place for rest and recreation and then you’re born again. we’re destined for this cycle of rebirths until we’ve cleansed ourselves of karma. heaven waits when we achieved that.

      incidentally, do you know why we get attracted to some people in this life? it’s more than chemistry. it’s because we’ve known them in the past. in previous lifetimes, they might have been our parents, siblings, relatives, classmates, friends, spouses, teachers, etc. isn’t it cool that love and relationships extend beyond many lifetimes?

  • 7. AC  |  February 25, 2010 at 7:34 am

    haven’t tried reading book like this… i’ll check the synopsis though, then find out whether i’d like to read it or not. hehehe

    • 8. plaridel  |  February 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm


      hiramin mo na lang sa library para kung di mo magustuhan di sayang ang pera mo.

      • 9. AC  |  February 25, 2010 at 11:52 pm

        Naku asa pa sa library dito sa Pinas. hehehe


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