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The Things We Learn When We're Dead

Charlie Laidlaw

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Accent Press Ltd

Published : 2017

Copyright : Charlie Laidlaw 2016

ISBN-10 : PB 1-78615-035-2
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-78615-035-6

Publisher's Write-Up

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets The Lovely Bones in this surrealist, sci-fi comedy.

Small decisions can have unintended consequences, but sometimes we get a second chance.

On the way home from a dinner party she didn’t want to attend, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids here questions.

It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident. Or does God have a higher purpose after all? At first Lorna can remember nothing.

As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that she needs to find a way home…

About the Author:
Charlie Laidlaw was born in Paisley and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He has been a national newspaper journalist and worked in defence intelligence. He now runs his own marketing consultancy in East Lothian. He is married with two grown-up children.

'Intriguing and compelling... a tale that grips until the very last page.'

Jodi Taylor

'Clever and compelling... this book is hugely original and well worth a read.'

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nigel (280217) Rating (8/10)

Review by Nigel
Book Source: Author
Rating 8/10

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is not the book I was expecting, but in a good way.

Our main protagonist is Lorna, a student who is about to graduate from University and embark on a career at a prestigious Edinburgh law firm. Unfortunately, on the way home from a dinner party hosted by her new boss, Lorna is run over and killed.

Lorna then wakes up in a strange hospital only to learn she is dead and in Heaven. As the story unfolds we learn a bit about Heaven but a lot more about Lorna as the bulk of the story is about her life and the events that led up to the fateful evening.

The story is exceptionally well written and flows wonderfully through the narrative. I was engaged by the characters from beginning to end and was eager to know what happened. As the book progresses you also begin to notice some strange coincidences which start to make you think all is not as it seems…

One of the book’s online straplines is "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets The Lovely Bones in this surrealist, sci-fi comedy.” While a very good book in itself I personally found the comparison to The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy somewhat misleading. If you were buying this book solely on this recommendation I think you might feel slightly disappointed as there is little similarity. It’s like saying Star Wars is similar to 2001: A Space Odyssey because they both have spaceships. However, looking at it from a ‘glass-half-full’ perspective the opposite might well be true in that you have accidentally found a gem of a book that you otherwise may not have considered.

As for humour there is plenty of this, especially if you like it on the darker side.

A really good book about life and growing up that would stand up on its own without a slightly misleading comparison, which, to be fair, wasn’t on the finished copy we have seen.
Nigel (28th February 2017)

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