Review: Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore (4/5)

“It’s more about being an artist,” she said. “I’d make the candles. In different shapes.”

“Are you just saying that off the top of your head or

“Nope. I have wanted to make candles since they were invented. I mean, it’s the greatest kind of sculpture. Say you made a candle of Michael Jackson, and it would be all cool and look just like him,and you’d show it to people, and they’d say ‘Oh, that’s the cutest thing I ever saw,’ and then you could light it and watch his head melt. Candles are awesome.”

Out today (August 22nd), Reincarnation Blues is the most recent publication of fiction writer,  poet, and fellow Hoosier Michael Poore. Milo has been reincarnated almost ten thousand times in pursuit of universal perfection. He is on the track except for one thing, on this journey he has fallen in love, with Death. Now after thousands of lives and almost eight thousand years Milo must make the choice: become Nothing, or spend eternity without the one he loves.

Told from the third person Reincarnation Blues spans all history and future: from the Bronze Age to the time of Buddha, all the way up to the distant future where space travel is the norm and people build on the sun. The book approaches the themes of mortality and wisdom with a dark and wry humor, lending a touch of the absurd and obscene. The writing is whimsical and rife with satire, poking fun at all of humanity’s foibles and contradictions. A story line that is imaginative and bizarre, the plot can be compared to an episode of the TV show Lost, unlikely juxtapositions where anything goes.

Flying with Death was like being in a sleeping bag with a sensuous woman and a tarantula.

And much like a TV show, rather than one long novel the book is broken up into different lives each with its own characters and story to tell. Some segments are just short paragraphs, others are weighty chapters which adds some variation to the pacing of this fairly decent sized book.

I appreciated the zany feel of this novel, but it took me a while to settle into it. Reincarnation Blues is light years from the literature I would normally pick up, and I came to appreciate that aspect the longer I read. Poore pushes the envelope with this book, and hidden under the biting comedy are some pretty profound themes. This quote in regard to growth mindset particularly spoke to me.

It wasn’t easy. That was the first thing about learning anything worthwhile; you had to have patience. You had to know that if you tried to do a thing a thousand times, you could usually succeed in doing it, and if you practiced that thing a million times, you could do it very well. And so on. Mastering a thing was not magic, just hard work.

Chop wood, carry water, as the Buddhists said.

Reincarnation is an improbable tale, but the ending is incredibly sweet. If you’re looking to gain a new perspective on humanity, or just looking for a tour de force of time and space travel, this book is the place to go. 4/5 stars for a unique adventure.

*Thank you to First to Read and the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for a honest review. All opinions stated here are my own.



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