What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.
Why Reincarnation Blues?
I stood in line for an ARC of this book on a whim at bookcon this year. I knew almost nothing about it but it ended up being my greatest find of the whole weekend.
A Misleading Summary
Although the official summary did a great job at grabbing my interest, I just don’t think it’s a very good description of the story. While it’s true that the book is about Milo and his love affair with death (AKA Suzie), their love story is not what makes this book amazing. This book isn’t an epic romance or a tale of forbidden love. This is a story about the reality of circumstance and how to live the best life with what you are given. The real story here is that Milo has been reincarnated almost 10,000 times and only has a few more chances to “achieve perfection” before his soul becomes forfeit. Although he is an ancient soul, Milo struggles with trying to live a perfect life as much as anyone else would. This is the plot that makes the book both strangely nostalgic and highly spiritual. It made me want to go out and change every part of my life but somehow the narrative never became preachy.
Fantasy + Historical Fiction + Science Fiction?
This book is the strangest conglomeration of genres. Milo lives some of his lives in the distant past, some of his lives in a future filled with science fiction technology, and spends a good deal of his time in an afterlife full of fantasy elements. Putting a singular label on the genre is nearly impossible. What I love about this book, however, is that none of those elements ever distract from the cohesive nature of the story. No matter when or where Milo exists in the story, the themes running throughout the narrative are cohesive and intriguing. Never once did I feel like any of the fantasy or science fiction elements detracted from the novel.
A Well Crafted Story
I was really surprised by how easy this book was to read. Milo is reborn so many times throughout the novel that it would be very easy for this book to get lost in worldbuilding every time a new setting arises. Instead, Michael Poore was able to produce a well thought-out and beautifully crafted story that provides the reader with just enough information to keep the story moving. Every life Milo lives feels like a complete and wonderfully written short story that could stand on its own. Together, however, these tales form something far more important and meaningful. I truly hope to be able to read more from this author in the future because his ability to craft a thematic narrative is the best I’ve ever read.
The Bottom Line
I have almost nothing negative to say about this book. It was beautiful and meaningful. It is the kind of book that will stick with you for years and year after you read it. It made me want to change my life. Please go buy this book right now.
Warning: This book contains a lot of sexual content as well as strong warnings for violence and sexual assault. Please read safely.