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Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore
Book Name: Reincarnation Blues
Author: Michael Poore
Publisher(s): Del Rey
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook
Genre(s): Fantasy / Science Ficition
Release Date: August 22, 2017

People acquire books in all kinds of ways. Book boxes mail out a semi-random selection. Friends and relatives gift books we may or may not really enjoy. In this case, I was handed a copy of Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore himself during Book Con in New York City.

I wasn’t initially stoked. The cover doesn’t leave me swooning. The title didn’t really draw me in. But the blurb sucked me in straight away. Reincarnation is one of my favorite fantasy tropes, particularly when it’s paired with the idea of true love. Dying and coming back to life in pursuit of that one person that completes you. What could be better?

Reincarnation Blues follows Milo. He’s usually a man, but sometimes a woman or a child or a catfish. See, Milo dies. A lot. And he dies in a lot of really fantastic ways. One of them involves a catapult. He’s lived in the past and the future and contemporary times, and on other planets or historic villages or ancient cities, and anywhere between.

This is a story about a wise man named Milo. It begins on the day he was eaten by a shark.

Each time Milo dies, he’s greeted by Death who escorts him back to the Afterlife. But Milo’s Death is a sweet, complex, and idiosyncratic young woman he calls Suzie. And for as long as Milo can remember, he’s loved her. So he dies again and again, lingering in the Afterlife as long as possible to get his time with Suzie.

She decided to dye her hair. A silly thing to do, if you’re a universal idea, like Death or Spring or Music or Peace.

After 9,995 lives, Milo is hit with an ultimatum. He’s abused his lives and if he reaches his 10,000th life without reaching Perfection, he’ll vanish into Oblivion. No more lives, no more Suzie. No more anything.

Reincarnation Blues tells the story of Milo’s journey to make his last five lives count and live with the soul he cherishes most. Each life is punctuated with memories of Milo’s previous lives and his time in the Afterlife. Milo falls in love, experiences torture, travels to futuristic worlds, and all along, he’s trying to reach the elusive spiritual Perfection.

Due to cosmic balance, Milo must pay for the transgressions of his previous life. If he’s holy and sacrificial, he’s rewarded with a wonderful new life. If he’s selfish and greedy, he has to pay by living a life as a cricket or catfish or some other unassuming creature.

After a life in banking, Milo had to serve a penalty life as an alligator snapping turtle, waiting in the murk at the bottom of slimy ponds. Claws dug in, holding his breath.

The beauty in this book is that it isn’t a single story, but dozens, maybe even hundreds. We get a taste of Milo’s multitude of existences to create the larger fabric of who he is on a visceral level. We see him as the villain, as the hero, as the guy who stands by while innocents are brutalized, as the guy who gets brutalized. There’s no facet of life that Milo does not experience in this book and it’s wonderful.

On Earth, life after life, Milo fell in and out of love all the time. He knew thousands of ordinary loves, the sort that grind out like sausage.

Michael Poore tells Milo’s complex story with an admirable ease. Lesser writers could be easily overwhelmed with the crisscrossing time lines, the changing characters and settings, and in the end, lose the impact of the story. Michael manages this complex narrative with a deft pen and it’s really a pleasure to experience.

This book will make you feel. You’ll want Milo to succeed and you’ll want him to fail. You’ll want him to quit and you’ll want him to persevere against the worst of odds. And more than anything, you’ll love Suzie. Because you’ll feel every ounce of Milo’s love for her. You’ll feel their connection and joy and the way they just work together. Their story will reach inside you and touch your soul and you’ll never quite be the same again.

As darkly enchanting as the works of Neil Gaiman and as wisely hilarious as Kurt Vonnegut’s, Michael Poore’s Reincarnation Blues is the story of everything that makes life profound, beautiful, absurd, and heartbreaking. – Reincarnation Blues, back cover blurb

Reincarnation Blues will restore your faith in the universe, that things happen for a reason, that two people really can be fated to find each other no matter what. You’ll believe in true love. You’ll want to make the world a better place. You’ll want to live the best possible life. Bottom line, this book will change you for the better. What are you waiting for?


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