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The oldest soul on planet Earth is given five last chances to get life right.

Poore (Up Jumps the Devil, 2012) offered a metaphysical love story in his debut and here places another timeless romance inside a wildly ambitious comedy of errors. In Poore’s universe, people die—but they don’t end. They’re resurrected over and over again as different people, in different eras of time and space. Our hero is Milo, a guy (and sometimes a girl and occasionally a cricket) who has had 9,995 chances to reach “perfection,” after which he gets to go through the Sun Door and merge with the “Oversoul.” This is all explained to him by two cosmic busybodies named Mama and Nan who are endlessly pestering Milo to do better. “Every life has something to teach you,” they explain. “Chances for you to learn and grow and eventually become perfect.” But Milo is running out of time. If he doesn’t reach his goal by his 10,000th life, Mama and Nan are going to boot him off the Universal Sidewalk and he’ll pass into oblivion. “Your soul will be canceled like a dumb TV show,” Nan says. Compounding Milo’s problem is his long-standing romance with his girlfriend, the living embodiment of Death, who prefers to be called “Suzie.” “ 'Love’ and ‘in love’ aren’t always the same thing,” Suzie explains. “ 'In love’ is a human thing. Chemicals. ‘Love’ is cosmic. I love you, too.” So in addition to experiencing Milo’s five last lives, from dying in a comet blast to being shipwrecked on a far-off planet, we also get hilarious and often touching flashbacks to all his weird, wonderful lives. Poore is also, like Christopher Moore, a master at lines so funny and startling they inspire spit-takes: “Remember that time you fucked it up so bad you had to come back as a bug?” Suzie asks.

Tales of gods and men akin to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman as penned by a kindred spirit of Douglas Adams.

Pub Date: Aug. 22nd, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-399-17848-1
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2017


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