This book caught my eye from the first time I had seen it at my local bookstore. The plot follows a town that is never named as they struggle with the absence of death. The book begins with a hauntingly gripping first line;
"The following day, no one died."
This event causes confusion and chaos throughout the country. The dying linger and the families wait, tormented by the thoughts of trying to end it for them. Soon after this disaster they find that people can die if they are taken out of the country. The later half of the book focuses on how, once death returns, should be handled. People are notified by mail two weeks before they die that it will happen. The book also follows the narrative of death herself (she prefers the small d to D), as she tries to deliver one of these fated letters find their owner after it is returned to her.
The news of the absence of death shakes peoples faith, morals, and outlook on how they should live. It is a truly interesting book full of moral problems and questions how we look at death, the dying, and the living. Overall I felt that this book was full good topics to think about. The only thing that ever got to me while reading this book is the way the prose is written. There are very, very long paragraphs, sentences, and almost no markings for when people are speaking to one another. This made the book highly difficult to read. Even though it is a short book (238 pages) it took me more than a month to read. Most of this was caused by the way the book was written. I do believe that the style was intentional because of when they talk about the letter death sends the government. It is mentioned that it is in this same style as the books writing. I felt like the author intended the book to be narrated by death.
I think that this is a great book for book clubs and classes. There is lots of discussion material. Overall I felt like I had a great sampling of this authors work and hopefully get to read more of it in the future.