Guru Levine (A Gradual Awakening, Who Dies?) escorts his clients to the Abyss, dispensing comfort, wisdom, and altogether too much unction. Of these two dozen or so agonized people, not all were in extremis (though Levine specializes in terminal cancer patients): some were mourning or preparing to mourn a parent, child, or spouse; some made astonishing recoveries; and one, for whatever perverse reasons, was only pretending to have leukemia. Their cases, it must be admitted, are engrossing, and Levine's eclectic-Buddhist counsels (accept pain and death, merge your ego with the All, let go) make sense, but the whole thing is just too smooth. The dialogues are presented as if they were transcripts of phone calls or bed-side conversations. However shattering their grief, Levine's interlocutors air their feelings and then gradually work them out with articulate ease (they're almost all literate in psychology, and some have read Levine's books), while the master himself pours out his soothing message: ""It is very understandable that there is pain at times as the body falls away. But you aren't that body. The body is sick, but the nature of being is not sick,"" etc. For the predisposed.