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Elsewhere Hardcover – 9 Sep 2005
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'A little gem to watch out for ... remarkably original.' -- New Books Magazine
'This is an impressive debut, rich in imagination and detail, and it completely swept me away.' -- The Bookseller
This book creates an exquisite, clever and wonderfully inspiring picture of the afterlife. -- Waterstones Books Quarterly
A novel of hope, love and redemption told in brilliant and unusual style. The tenth-anniversary of Zevin's modern classic, this new edition will have a gorgeous, commemorative new package, ensuring that a new generation of readers fall in love with Liz's story of life after life. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Fifteen-year old Elizabeth "Liz" "Lizzie" Marie Hall has found herself in ELSEWHERE after dying in a bicycle-meets-taxi accident. After taking a long ride on the SS Nile, Liz has finally realized that she's not in a dream after all, but really, truly dead. When she arrives on Elsewhere, she meets her maternal grandmother, Betty, for the very first time. A woman who died at fifty from breast cancer, Betty is now a woman in her thirties--one of the first surprises Liz is in for is the fact that, on Elsewhere, lives are lived backward from the age of a person's death. Needless to say, this thought depresses Liz. She'll never be sixteen, never have a Massachusetts driver's license, never go to the prom or graduate from high school or go to college or get married. The only thing
she has to look forward to is growing younger, until she returns to being an infant and is sent back to Earth to be born again.
Liz spends her first month on Elsewhere spending all of her time--and her grandmother's eternims, the currency used there--to watch her family, friends, and classmates back on Earth. She's soon a regular at the OD's, or Observation Decks, watching life on Earth pass her by. She's upset that her best friend, Zooey, didn't attend her funeral. Her parents are inconsolable, her younger brother, Alvy, tells jokes to get through the day, and her dog, Lucy, refuses to accept that Liz isn't coming back.
It takes awhile, but Liz finally realizes that spending hours upon hours at the OD's is not helping her adjust to life on Elsewhere. She finds a new friend in Owen, one of the detectives in charge of keeping the inhabitants of Elsewhere away from the Well, where contact with people on Earth is possible, but illegal. She once again befriends Thandi, a young girl killed on Earth by a stray bullet, who was her bunkmate on the SS Nile. She gets closer to grandmother Betty, finally takes a job in the Division of Domestic Animals helping recently departed pets find new owners, and seems to be finding a place on Elsewhere.
I really loved this story. One of the most delightful things in ELSEWHERE is the animals, especially the dogs. Liz, a natural at the language of Canine, is able to interpret for her four-legged friends, and finally understand everything they have to say. I can't truly imagine aging backwards, but Gabrielle Zevin has managed to make a truly believable story that is realistic, entertaining, and emotional, all at the same time. This is definitely a recommended read, and in all honesty, I would love to visit the land of Elsewhere again in the future.
This is a book about life: what it is and how you do it: living and what happens in your head if you don’t want to do it anymore. The language is deceivingly simple and because of that the images are rawer and more direct. This is a good book.
Elsewhere is about an almost 16 year old girl, Liz, who is hit by a car and wakes up to find herself aboard a ship in crisp white pyjamas and a completely shaved head. She assumes she's dreaming, so decides to go with it until she wakes up. Only, she doesn't wake up.
Soon, she begins to grasp what actually happened, and starts to get flashbacks of her riding a bike to get to the mall and a taxi running right into her. So we spend several chapters with Liz trying to cope with her untimely death as she moans nonstop, goes into depression, and is angry with the world. Her grandmother, Beth, who died from cancer was there to try and make Liz's way into the afterlife a little smoother and easier to handle. However, Liz is having none of it. She wants to be angry, and so her grandmother lets her be angry.
The thing about Elsewhere, the place that dead people end up in, is that it looks exactly like real life. Also, people in Elsewhere age backwards until they are 7 days old and are dropped into this river that takes them back to Earth for their next life. Also, we have talking dogs.
I've read plenty of books about life after death and I must say, this is a first. I don't know that I was super impressed by the way the afterlife was perceived. It seemed very underwhelming, but I went with it, and once you stop thinking too deeply about it you begin to enjoy the book more. Once Liz is out of her depression, she also begins to enjoy her life after death more. She enjoys it even more once she meets Owen, who works in the police force and is only a couple of years older than her, but that is due to the fact that he's been in Elsewhere for much longer than her.
Owen was married, and when he died he was in his 20s and has been watching over his wife Emily ever since. When he meets Liz, he finally has a reason to disconnect from life on Earth and really start living his life in Elsewhere.
I have to admit that I found Liz and Owen's interactions sweet to a certain extent, except that their romance developed very quickly . And once Owen's wife joins him in the afterlife, things become very rushed and almost unenjoyable to read because so much is happening with so many gaps in-between that you miss out and all the good stuff. I would've liked Owen and Liz's relationship to be fleshed out a little more to give us more detail.
Otherwise, this was definitely a quick read and enjoyable if you don't take it too seriously.
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