I knew I would be hooked on Reincarnation Blues before I even started! I was 100% right, because I devoured this book in a day and always wanted to read one more chapter. That’s the kind of book this is.
Summary from Goodreads: A magically inspiring tale of a man who is reincarnated through many lifetimes so that he can be with his one true love: Death herself.
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.
This is a captivating story about deaths, but also funnily enough about living life in between. I fell absolutely in love with the story and the themes within this book. Milo is in love with death, but can only spend time with her between his reincarnations – of which has had almost ten thousand. Reincarnation Blues, which is such a superb title by the way, encompasses Milo’s life on Earth, and other planets, and in the afterlife. There is an imaginative and inventive quality about all of Milo’s lives – even those that are only hinted at. Hats off to Poole for the creative ingenuity of Milo’s ten thousand lives. That alone warrants a round of applause.
But additionally, there’s all these themes about our past lives, fate, and even karma, jam packed between the pages. You can easily get lost in the plot, which sweeps you away, even if it starts a little slowly. However, you find yourself asking whether our past lives enrich us, make us wiser, in to better people? When we have so many of them, what effect does that have on our lives and mentality?
The biggest question that immediately hit me was: if you were going to do something differently, in the next life – like be a more honest person, etc. – what would we choose to change and, ultimately, why not do that now? That’s deep. Poole takes us around the world and everywhere, in time and place. There is a richness to the places we travel to that enhances the story, and doesn’t feel too heavy handed. I especially loved the descriptions and setting of the afterlife.
Milo’s Lives and Loves
As we move forwards with the story, we also look backwards at Milo’s past lives. The sense of time here is distorted, and can be tricky to hang onto, but isn’t that one of the points? There is an exceptionally good scene, where we are told that the ‘afterlife’ is a myth with reincarnation, because it is not a strict progression of time. It can also be the ‘before’ life. This metaphor is perfect, and even encompasses how time works and flows in Reincarnation Blues.
There are so many fantastic themes: karma, the ‘perfect’ life, the morality of our actions. There are questions about the universes, when is the ‘right time’, who decides these questions of fate and balance. If you thought Reincarnation Blues would be just a mindless story, you’re wrong there. And at the same time Poole does maintain this balance between hard hitting questions about life, the universe, and everything with Milo and Death’s love story.
In this love story, which may be one of my favorites to date, there is a fragility and the same forces that we face in our lives: fate and struggle. Are they going to be together? Is this their fate? Will their love conquer all? This red thread of true love and the struggle to be together runs throughout the storyline behind the scenes. There also exists this fantastic question about what comes next? If we can live through many lives over and over again, what is next?
Even within the ending, there are still these larger questions at hand. Poole continues to offer us questions and ultimately, we are the ones who must answer. That being said, there is something entertaining and satisfying about this book that definitely warrants reading Reincarnation Blues. If you’ve ever wondered about reincarnation, or the power of love, I am positive you will enjoy this.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.
If you liked my review, and want another opinion, check out a friend of mine’s at Adventures of a Bibliophile.
What is your favorite book with reincarnation?
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If you liked reincarnation check out my review of Bender.
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