Reincarnation Blues

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

"Why don't you leave her?" asked Milo.
Floyd digested this question for five full minutes.
"I'm trying to be mature about things," he said at last. "I thought maybe we just needed time. Marriage is work.
"The problem with a barracuda," said Milo, "isn't that you aren't being mature. The problem is that it's a barracuda. If you don't like being in the boat with it, one of you has to go."

I really wanted to like this one... With clever, pithy lines about life and love like the one above (to illustrate the point, Milo actually pulls a barracuda into the boat, where it thrashes at Floyd's feet - one of the BEST illustrated life lessons EVER in fiction!), how could I not be intrigued?? I was a little apprehensive, because Douglas Adams and Christopher Moore are hit-and-miss authors for me, and there were more than a few comparisons between those authors and Poore, but I was optimistic because of the subject matter. I'm fascinated by the concept of reincarnation and love when Death is a character - there are so many wonderful possibilities to explore in the complex relationship between man and Death... I was semi-turned off from the get-go though - the book opens with reference to death by shark, and I have a ridiculous life-long phobia about sharks, so I was battling the eight ball from the opening line. Unfortunately, things never really picked up for me after that...

I still really like the concept, and am still somewhat curious to see where Suzie and Milo wound up - which is unusual for a book I've given up on. I was curious enough, in fact, that I sought out other reviews to see if it was worth sticking with this one. After reading what others thought, I suppose it's possible that if I'd kept slogging through I would have made it past the jumble of time-lines and perspectives that I found so unnecessarily scattered and distracting and gotten into the story, but I was getting too frustrated to stick with it and after putting it down multiple times I finally decided it simply wasn't for me. No one spoiled the ending, although a number of readers commented that the end surprised them. Those comments moved the book from a solid position on my  "gave up on" pile and into my "come back to it later" one - although there are a slew of Adams and Moore works in line ahead of it and those have been there for some time...

"Death was a door. You went through it over and over, but it still terrified people."
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Reincarnation Blues had me hooked when I first heard the premise that Milo is an ancient soul that has lived 9,995 lives, each time hoping only to meet Death (A.K.A. Suzie) each time he dies. Milo is in love with Suzie, and this is what is preventing him from reaching Perfection, for fear he won't be able to ever see Suzie again. But Milo has only five more lives - five more opportunities to reach Perfection - until he becomes Nothingness. 

The best part about this book is that it really is a combination of all genres mixed together: historical fiction, science fiction, contemporary, fantasy, dystopian. Milo lives in all different periods of time, including during 2600 B.C., in many futuristic colonies in space, in the current day, and in the "afterlife." 

Reading this book is kind of like reading a bunch of short stories that take place in multiple time periods and locations but are all about the same person, Milo. Because of this, most stories recounting one of Milo's lives don't go very far in depth and therefore have more "telling" than "showing." But the stories are interesting nonetheless. This book goes in depth in detail for the last five lives that Milo lives, and the shorter snippets are told in between those five lives. 

The story is told in a third-person omniscient perspective. It's interesting though because sometimes the story will be in the future tense, and sometimes the POV will be that of a shark, or a dog, or a whale. 

Reincarnation Blues is a highly original, eccentric book that's full of magical realism. Poore's writing can be very poetic at times, which just adds to the beauty of the story. I highly recommend this book. 

"Milo had squeezed so much learning and experience into his one, single soul that the knowledge had grown pressurized and hot and transformed into wisdom the way coal changes into diamonds. His wisdom was like a superpower."
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What a unique, fun, and witty book! I'm always excited to read something new and this one is has unique pouring from it. Death is a woman named Suzie and everyone gets 10,000 lives to get "it right" and achieve perfection. The little pieces of wisdom sprinkled throughout the book were wonderful and I loved the humor. I'll be reading everything Michael Poore writes!
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I absolutely loved this book.  Completely.  I actually believe in reincarnation, much like what was described in this book.  My belief is that we come back to Earth time and time again in order to experience every part of humanity and evolve as a soul.  I also believe we plan each life, to some extent, in order to reach our goals so while this is a great story of human nature and love there was also the added bonus, for me, that so much of the plot fed into my belief system of life and death and reincarnation.  Score!

Okay putting that aside for those of you who don’t share my beliefs this is still an amazingly good book.  The story is entertaining, the characters not taking themselves too seriously, willing to poke fun at themselves.  They were also full of depth, complex and unique.  Some of their quirks had me laughing but the author also knew how to set the fun aside and get serious for a chapter or two.  There were such profound moments in this book that it made my heart wrench for the characters.  The author did an excellent job of showing the human race for what we are, blemishes and all.  He also showed us the potential for what we could become, though.  That in each of us we have the potential to do great things and some pretty crappy things too.  Of course, then there is karma which will get us in the end and rewards us for our actions be them good or bad.

The synopsis leads one to believe this is a story about love and it is but it is also so much more.  I would have to say that the love plot line almost took a back burner for me.  Oh sure I wanted to see those two crazy kids get together and have their H.E.A (e standing for eternity here) but it isn’t what kept me engaged in the story.  The observations on humanity are what kept me turning the page.  The jumping back and forth in time, done well by the way and not confusing at all, to observe how the human race evolved over time and how one small act can ripple through out time and change the course of humanity for years to come.

This is simply a great read done by a talented author who can weave a complex and fresh story that not only entertains but makes one stop and think for a moment.  It is one of those books that I’m better for having read it and you will be too.
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What a curious book. 

Milo has lived nearly 10,000 lives and is still trying to achieve what is known as Perfection. With each new life Milo is sure that this time he will finally figure out the secret to reaching perfection yet inevitably messes it up again and again. 

This isn't just a tale of an old soul attempting to learn a lesson. This is a tale of morality, love, loss, pride, meditation, family, depression and basically everything. Poore touches on most topics within this novel. The mistakes Milo makes are strangely easy to relate to while still being pretty far fetched. The details may be fantastical but the story is one that is familiar to all of us. 

Poore takes such care with the details here. Each life that Milo lives is like a story in itself, but put together they make up a charming tale. 

I have been fretting about turning 40 tomorrow and oddly Milo's story soothed a bit of this age related anxiety. Maybe I will come back as a lazy cat or a wombat. This life is just one in my story.
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Milo has had many chances to get it right—almost 10,00 to be exact. One would think that he’d be able to get it right and achieve not just perfection, but Perfection. At least, that’s what his definitely not gods think. In Reincarnation Blues, by Michael Poore, we see Milo on his last chances to live a perfect life. The only problem is that Milo isn’t ready to move on. He’s in love with Death (who prefers to be called Suzie) and they get to be together after every incarnation. What’s the point of perfection if it means leaving the person he’s loved for millennia behind?

We meet Milo just before he’s eaten by a shark. It’s the end of one more life on earth, but it’s routine for an old soul like Milo. (His favorite death was the time he was catapulted over the walls of Vienna in 1683.) Every time he dies, Milo gets to spend time with Suzie, who he’s known almost since his first death. When he gets the itch, he picks a new life and head to earth for a while. It’s a surprisingly cozy existence for Milo—until he learns that he only gets 10,000 tries to live a Perfect life. If he doesn’t get it right, his soul is erased. No more Suzie. No more interesting lives. Nothing.

In Reincarnation Blues, we see Milo struggle to figure out how to get it right and still hang on to Suzie. These last chances play out in short episodes, with glimpses of his past lives. He lives in an asteroid prison colony, is a student of the Buddha, and more. As his clock winds down, Milo tries ever more desperately to show love to his fellow souls and make huge sacrifices to show his worthiness for just a little more existence.

This book has so many of the things I love: a non-linear view of history, a quirky love story, and plenty of reincarnation. On top of that, the tone and storyline remind me a lot of Christopher Moore’s Lamb, one of my absolute favorite books, with its irreverence and off-kilter cosmology. I truly enjoyed reading this book because it kept raising the stakes for Milo in terms of what a perfect life might be. It’s not just a matter of following rules or being kind. Rather, a soul has to make a difference in the world with its lives, so that the arc of history really does bend towards justice. The best thing, in Milo’s universe, is to improve as many lives as possible. No wonder souls have 10,000 chances at it.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration. It will be released 22 August 2017.
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This book is different, it's unlike anything I've ever read before, which is a good thing. It is an amazing and mesmerizing story that was hard to put down. I absolutely loved this book and couldn't wait to get to the end to see everything that happened and how it would end. It has so many different things: reincarnation and multiple lives, a love story, divine oneness with the universe, achieving growth and perfection, selfless love, making a difference in others lives, peace and meditation, moral stories, and humor, and darkness, and light, and what it means for the main character to finally get it right after living ten thousand times. I seem to be on a streak of picking really awesome five star reads here lately and this one deserves five stars for sure. Highly recommend, especially if you like reading about reincarnation, living multiple lives, and having a love affair with death herself. I especially loved the story Milo told of the lesson of Jonathan Ya Ya, I think it's a very valuable lesson we all need right now! I received an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This was the first book I have read by this author. I will have to check out his other work because I really liked his style. He took an offbeat subject and combined it with magical realism to create a fictional masterpiece in my opinion.
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I thought this book was pretty good but there were times when I wanted it to be a little more.  I thought Milo and his different lives were interesting.  It was also cool to see how all of the lives connected and what he needed to do in order to obtain Perfection.  Suzie was an interesting character too.  In general, I liked the book but it felt a little long.
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Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC. I don't rate a lot of courtesy copies a 5, but I'm rounding up from 4.5 for the sheer entertainment and inventiveness of it. Milo's lifelines ranged ranged from interesting to amazing, some of them could be the basis of their own novel. He is a lovable hero as an almost-perfect soul, and his relationship with Death, er, Suzie, is sweet. The writing was casual and flowed along nicely so you stayed in the story well. Very enjoyable, would be a great choice for a buddy read. Hats off to the author for a job well done!
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If Douglas Adams wrote a fiction novel on reincarnation, I suspect that it would read a lot like this one. There are bits of dry humor interspersed with gleanings of wisdom from Milo's 10,000 lifetimes, as Milo discovers things about himself, the gray areas between right and wrong, and understanding the human experience. During this journey Milo also discovers the love of his lifetimes, who ironically turns out to be Death (who prefers to be called Suzie). Funny, insightful, and entertaining.
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Reincarnation does it exist? Well Milo got informed he is running out of reincarnations. Who would think that is even possible? If he doesn't reach perfection before he reaches his 10,000 life he will go into the nothingness.  He doesn't want that and neither does his afterlife girlfriend who just happens to be death. What is perfection you might ask yourself well Milo would like to know that as well?  So get ready to see what reincarnation is like and let me tell you it isn't all fun and games.  See what a relationship with death is like and find out if Milo will reach perfection.

Not my favorite but an interesting read.  Read it and let me know what you think.
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Milo is on his 9,995th life and pretty happy with the love affair he enjoys with Death (aka Susie) in between lives.  Unfortunately, he finds out that he must achieve Perfection before he hits 10,000 or else be consigned to walk the long sidewalk into Nowhere (yes, it really is a sidewalk).  A brash, authority-defying, hero (even the Universe and the Oversoul don’t get to tell him what to do), we join Milo on his adventures through multiple lives and the progression of his love with a Being outside of reality.  

Poore weaves science fiction and historical stories into the vignettes of Milo’s many lives. He expounds on philosophies of economics, politics, love and the great mysteries of the Universe - all simplified into bite sized nuggets. He has fun with some pretty bizarre characters and silly yarns with very little point (at one point, Milo finds himself the love interest of a very sloppy camel). Still, plenty of big themes: What makes life worth living? What does it mean to be in love? When do you go along with the Universe and when do you tell it to shove it?

Fans of Kurt Vonnegut will find a similar style and creativity.
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An interesting book, with a good premise and good messages delivered through every life our main character lives. It funny and it's unique, although the craziness of the world building in those short stories was a bit confusing, and made me lose focus of the main plot, it felt too much at times. Regardless, it was a good read.
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That was such a fun and entertaining read. Reincarnation Blues not only has this great narrative tone but also great imagery and use of language. It's quirky and casual while maintaining a solid foundation in humor, and the underlying seriousness of the Afterlife.

Personification and anthropomorphism play a big part is Poore's exhibition of style. He seems delightfully willing to hand out emotions and human attributes to underscore his intentions. Poore's descriptive language is thoroughly enjoyable to read.
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I adored this book and could not put it down. It's one story, made up of many small stories, but in the end they tell one simple, beautiful and amazing tale. In reading it, I tried to compare it to something I'd read before but struggled. It is unique and special.. The only other story that felt somewhat familiar in my memory was "The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August." The comparison isn't true though. This story is much larger in scope and much more intimate in the relationships it creates.

The best way to read this book is to not question where its going but just enjoy the journey as you follow where it leads.
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I received this book from NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine in exchange for my honest review. 

The idea of this book is unlike any other that I have read before. You are reincarnated until you reach perfection and you get 10,000 tries at it. We follow the main character Milo through a few of his lives as he tries to reach perfection..... sometimes. While other times he lives his life as carefree as he wants. 

After each death he is welcomed into the afterlife by Death. Milo just happens to be in love with Death, which slightly complicated things. Death isn't just one being, there are many and he is in love with one named Susie. 

Milo only has five lives left to reach perfection and Susie tries to help him come up with ways to obtain perfection so he isn't lost forever. 

The writing can be confusing at times and I had to re-read sections several times and even then I just gave up and kept reading. Most of the time it had very little to do with the main story so nothing was lost, but it was annoying. Also, the use of words by Milo during certain time periods were not accurate. I could see this explained away as the past lives speaking through him since time was not linear. 

Here is a quote that I did not like, ""Enough," said Ma, sounding tired the way only fat people can." Seriously. Sounding tired as only fat people can?????? Oh, boy... 

Anyways, when I wasn't re-reading sections, I flew through the book and always wanted to pick it up to see what Milo was up to and see how and if he was going to reach perfection. The ending was not what I expected. I am not sure if I am disappointed about that or that the ending was actually better than I what I had imagined. I can't decided if I liked the ending or not. 

Overall it was a solid book but there are too many things that I would want to change about it to give it a rating of anything higher than a 3.
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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.
Resurrection Blues blew my socks off. It blew them off, chewed them up, spat them out, and then stomped on them, kicked them around the house (which is a difficult thing to do, kicking socks), until my socks were laid to rest in the dirty clothes hamper in the back kitchen.
This was surprisingly aggressive for a novel to do, but this was a surprising novel. I was expecting a fun, lighthearted romp, but I got something that was fun, lighthearted and just so, so, so jealousy-inducingly good. It's a love story, a parable, a shaggy dog story. I thought Milo and his ten thousand lives were a brilliant story, his love affair with Suzie touching and incandescent. Michael Poore dances along a tightrope of humor, weighty topics, and absurdity like the very best of Christopher Moore's A-game, Tom Robbins, David Mitchell, or Kurt Vonnegut. He takes elements of the spiritual, science fiction, and good, old down and dirty humanity and smashes them all together in a brilliant book. I could have spent another couple lifetimes reading about Milo and his quest for Perfection.
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I had high hopes going into this read: Not many tackle the subject of reincarnation, let alone the pursuit of enlightenment, via a story. I thought maybe Poore could one-up Jane Roberts' Education of Oversoul Seven trilogy. But this book was structured more like Waiting for Godot. The snippets of the thousands of lives we're treated to could be meaty stories in their own right, and bouncing through time and space in the first half of the book never sucked me in the way I'd hoped.

Since I received this book as part of my NetGalley membership, though, after a two-week hiatus, I tried again.

The second half of the book didn't quite pay off, but I was glad to have finished. The frame story construct of the love affair with Death (AKA Suzie) shows how even advanced souls can be stupid about some things. Committing to love come what may, though, has unanticipated consequences that gave me a happy enough ending to have made reading it worth my time.
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I received an advance copy of this via Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine in exchange for an honest review. 

Oh, wow. I don't really know where to start with this one. I thought Poore took a really interesting concept (and one that may have been done a bit as of late) and turned it on its head and created something really gorgeous and unique. The premise is simple enough. A boy has only 5 lifetimes left (out of 9,995) to get close to the perfection the universe wants him to have but at the same time we're treated to the tale of Milo and Death (or, Suzie). I think in every lifetime Milo goes through he learns something and gains something via knowledge in exchange for the time he has with Suzie. I'm not going to spoil the ending but this book was wonderful, non linear, and interesting in a way that made me want to reread this multiple times to see if the experience was different each time.
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I saw a review somewhere that described this book as a "light summer read." In my opinion, that is inaccurate. 

This book is quite funny at times, quite touching at others, and quite disturbing every once in awhile. That's because it's about the human experience and what it means to live a life (and, hopefully, to live it well.) The reality is people are messy and complicated and sometimes cruel to each other, but they can also be loving, selfless, and wise. Our hero, Milo experiences all of these things in his many lifetimes, and its through that lens that we can learn a little about ourselves and the life we've been given. Like life, this book doesn't serve up a "beach read" smooth and pleasant ride. It gives us an honest one, and that's what makes it, in my opinion, so much more than a "light summer read."

I've also seen a review that took this book to task for it's understanding of religious philosophy. I'd challenge that review as well. I never once assumed that this book was telling us THE truth about the afterlife, Buddhist philosophy, or heaven. It is telling us A truth. If you're willing to accept that truth for a little while and go along for the ride, you may find this book enjoyable. If not, this book will likely bug you. 

Basically I felt like reading this book was akin to spending time with a wise elder who has many epic stories to tell. There are some types of people who are happy to wait for those types of stories to unspool because they understand it will make the payoff more satisfying and it will likely reveal some interesting truths. Other types of people would be bored to tears, antsy for an immediate payoff and some cool action scenes to combat boredom while they get to it. This book would appeal more to the former type of person. 

One quibble before I go. I didn't enjoy the ending of this book. I'm still giving it all the stars anyway because my beef was more with the artistic choice the author made, not his ability to write about that choice.
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