Next Life Might Be Kinder (Hardcover)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780547712123, 272pp.
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
June 2014 Indie Next List
— Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
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Sam Lattimore meets Elizabeth Church in 1970s Halifax, in an art gallery. The sparks are immediate, leading quickly to a marriage that is dear, erotically charged, and brief. In Howard Norman’s spellbinding and moving novel, the gleam of the marriage and the circumstances of Elizabeth’s murder are revealed in heart-stopping increments. Sam’s life afterward is complicated. For one thing, in a moment of desperate confusion, he sells his life story to a Norwegian filmmaker named Istvakson, known for the stylized violence of his films, whose artistic drive sets in motion an increasingly intense cat-and-mouse game between the two men. For another, Sam has begun “seeing” Elizabeth—not only seeing but holding conversations with her, almost every evening, and watching her line up books on a small beach. What at first seems simply hallucination born of terrible grief reveals itself, evening by evening, as something else entirely.
Next Life Might Be Kinder is a story of murder, desperate faith, the afterlife, and of love as absolute redemption—from one of our most compelling storytellers at the height of his talents.
About the Author
Praise For Next Life Might Be Kinder…
"an opening sentence worthy of the Noir Hall of Fame...provocative...haunting...deft"—Janet Maslin, New York Times"Engrossing...Norman pulls off a fascinating balancing act here: the literary page-turner that, when it’s done, you want to retrace"—The Seattle Times "compelling and satisfying. Howard Norman has written a complex literary novel and a page-turner that’s impossible to put down."—Minneapolis Star Tribune"quirky and probing...riveting...sexy"—Washington Post "This latest novel, a strange and tragic love story told with great power and beauty, is a remarkable achievement… Shining through the confusion and madness is Norman’s masterly depiction of Sam and Elizabeth’s love affair before the murder, showing two people living modest, quiet lives who are redeemed and blessed by having found real love. VERDICT An inspiring and beautiful book; enthusiastically recommended for fans of literary fiction." —Library Journal, STARRED review
"Once again Norman (What Is Left the Daughter, 2010) portrays Nova Scotia as a mystical realm, where the dead haunt the living, and time is tidal. The inspiration for this dark, sexy, allusive, and diabolical tale is found in Norman’s memoir, I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place (2013), further complicating the novel’s eerie investigation into the yin and yang of verisimilitude and aberration."—Booklist, STARRED review
"Sweet, elegaic...you'll be richly rewarded."—Washingtonian
"a beguiling tale"—Kirkus Reviews
"[A] somewhat far-fetched but nonetheless entertaining novel"— Publishers Weekly