I have been very excited about The Postmortal. Normally I review non-fiction for Luxury Reading. But I saw this one on the “books to be reviewed” list and it sounded so clever and intriguing that I asked if an exception could be made and I could do a spot o’ fiction.
I loved the premise – in our world in the not-so-distant future, a cure for aging has been discovered. The President has banned it in the U.S., but it is available on the black market. John Farrell, a bit of an Everyman who happens to be a divorce lawyer, has a connection and decides to take The Cure.
Initially, mayhem and madness ensue, in the best possible ways. John’s future world is one of snarkiness, dark gallows humor, Shocking Revelations, and more than a few unexpected twists and turns. At least, it is in the first handful of chapters. After that, well, it becomes a lot darker and the gallows humor becomes more gallows and less humor. Random acts of violence, bitterness, resentment, ennui, and the decline of all forms of faith, hope and love are apparently the name of the game in the future.
If we really are in for that kind of future, I am in no rush to sign up – let alone to extend my stay with a late check-out.
The Postmortal is a combo entertainment/cautionary tale. But the existential angst surrounding John Farrell and his family/friends was entertaining for a while, then it got a little heavy-handed for my taste.
Personally, I don’t know that I see all that much appeal in a cure for aging. From the beginning, I rather fell in line with the pro-death traditionalists (and John’s father) when they pointed out that everything good must come to an end – and that this is not necessarily a bad thing or something to avoid, but just a necessary part of life and the appreciation of what we have. This is, ultimately, the message Magary sends us away with – and it’s a good one. But frankly, I think he could have delivered it without quite as many participants in the parade of horribles that poor John Farrell had to deal with along the way…
A former corporate attorney and government relations/health policy executive, Jill-Elizabeth walked away from that world (well, skipped actually) and toward a more literary life (equally challenging, but infinitely more enjoyable). If you enjoyed this review, please visit her at Jill-Elizabeth.com, the official home of All Things Jill-Elizabeth – that is, all of the teehees, musings, rants, book reviews, writing exercises, and witticisms of her burgeoning writing career.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.