Sum by David Eagleman
Forty Tales from the Afterlives

70%

19 Critic Reviews

Instead he is using the afterlife as a platform from which to comment on life itself. And what he has produced is a book that is as imaginative and inventive in its approach as it is commonplace in its message.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

At once funny, wistful and unsettling, Sum is a dazzling exploration of unexpected afterlives—each presented as a vignette that offers a stunning lens through which to see ourselves in the here and now.  In one afterlife, you may find that God is the size of a microbe and unaware of your existence. In another version, you work as a background character in other people’s dreams. Or you may find that God is a married couple, or that the universe is running backward, or that you are forced to live out your afterlife with annoying versions of who you could have been.  With a probing imagination and deep understanding of the human condition, acclaimed neuroscientist David Eagleman offers wonderfully imagined tales that shine a brilliant light on the here and now.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About David Eagleman

See more books from this Author
DAVID EAGLEMAN grew up in New Mexico. As an undergraduate he majored in British and American Literature before earning his PhD in Neuroscience. He heads the Laboratory for Perception and Action at Baylor College of Medicine, and is founder and director of the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law. At night he writes fiction.
 
Published February 10, 2009 by Vintage. 130 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy, Religion & Spirituality, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Sum
All: 19 | Positive: 17 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Good
on Jun 12 2009

This delightful, thought-provoking little collection belongs to that category of strange, unclassifiable books that will haunt the reader long after the last page has been turned.

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Guardian

Above average
on Jun 13 2009

Sum is perhaps best not read straight through; the experience of reading more than three stories on the trot can be a little disorienting. Savour them individually.

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Guardian

Good
on Jun 07 2009

This stunningly original book is little more than a 100 pages long. You can get through it in an hour, but you'd be mad to hurry, and you will certainly want to return to it many times.

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Blog Critics

Above average
on Feb 05 2010

Eagleman employs a whimsical, even poetic, style to convey these scenarios, and the result is a dreamlike collection of how one man envisions existence after death.

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WSJ online

Above average
on Feb 13 2009

Instead he is using the afterlife as a platform from which to comment on life itself. And what he has produced is a book that is as imaginative and inventive in its approach as it is commonplace in its message.

Read Full Review of Sum: Forty Tales from the Aft... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Examiner

Above average
on Jan 24 2012

Sum is one of those strange little gems hiding on the bookshelf awaiting just the right reader to come along. Like a fine wine, only the proper pallet can begin to digest the complexities and subtle nuances of this form of storytelling...

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The Telegraph

Above average
on May 27 2009

For all its apparent gravity and directness, the book starts to feel evasive and complacent. The ironic tone – reflected in the dainty paperback format...Sum is a clever book, but not nearly enough.

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The Bookbag

Above average
on Apr 01 2010

All the cover quotes from distinguished authors, journalists and cerebral people are spot on. It's one of the most intriguing books I can think of. I doubt you could read it in the afterlife – so I strongly suggest you read it beforehand.

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The Seattle Times

Above average
on Feb 05 2009

"Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives" is teeming, writhing with imagination. It's the Duomo between covers, reinvented and distilled.

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About.com

Above average

Eagleman is truly a gifted writer. Each of these tales is roughly two pages in length and each tickles the imagination in such a way that you'll be tempted to devour one after the other, but Sum is best consumed slowly.

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Globe and Mail

Above average
on Aug 23 2012

What's both charming and alarming about Sum is that it renders life and after as both ineffably strange and agonizingly familiar, the way in which the next world inevitably collapses into this one.

Read Full Review of Sum: Forty Tales from the Aft... | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Scotsman.com

Above average
on May 07 2009

Of the 40 tales here, the longest only runs to three pages. You'd think you could get through them in an evening. But behind the wit and the playfulness there are profound questions about what it is to be human and...

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SF Signal

Above average
on Apr 28 2009

Sum is ultimately an interesting read. Eagleman’s philosophical musings, often culminating in life lessons, will keep your own mind speculating long after the short chapters have ended.

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Wired

Above average
on Mar 07 2011

Written by neuroscientist David Eagleman, this intriguing book offers wildly divergent speculative tales. Each is only a few pages, but Eagleman packs them with such fresh ideas that it’s best to read only one at a time in order to fully savor them.

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Spirituality & Practice

Above average

...in this book presents a wildly imaginative collection of 40 tales about afterlives. They are well-written, concise, and compelling with their provocative insights into human nature, science, religion, God and community.

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The Agony Column

Above average
on Mar 09 2009

Here is a book that is well worth searching out in hardcover, a book that you will read again and again because it is easy, delightful and thoroughly thought-provoking.

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New Scientist

Above average
on Jul 01 2009

In this collection of supershort tales, David Eagleman - neuroscientist by day, dark chronicler by night - has turned himself into a David Deutsch figure of the hereafter, but with a multi-afterverse rather than a multiverse.

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Helium

Above average
on Oct 26 2009

I'll be honest I haven't finished the book yet...... I don't want to finish it, I don't want the experience to end.

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Bookmunch

Above average
on Apr 27 2009

Space, ethics, storybooks, technology and the unknown are tastily wrapped in bite sized chunks designed to make you swallow your fears, arrogance and pride.

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Reader Rating for Sum
83%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 351 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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