Book Review: ‘Reincarnation Blues’ a delightful gem
November 10, 2017
"Reincarnation Blues" by Michael Poore is one of those rare gems that leaves permanent, lasting impressions; the type that percolate up from the unconscious and either inform your daily life or make you question it.
Milo, a resident of the cosmos, has lived 9,995 of his 10,000 lives and needs to reach "perfection" or he will be erased from existence – never to reincarnate again. Suzie, better known as one of the many "deaths" that do the bidding of the cosmic soul, not only kills Milo at the end of each of his lives, but over time has become his one, true love – a love that can only be realized (obviously) in the afterlife. Both are worried about Milo's quest for perfection while simultaneously they are terrified of losing each other if he does.
Though Milo only has five lives left before oblivion becomes his potential reality, we are graced with many more manifestations of his past and present lives that are conferred in no particular order and whose central theme is "choice." Milo begins as a "wise" Florida charter boat captain, only to discover he was not wise enough. We find him almost reaching perfection as a human catapult, but he sidetracks himself by choosing to be born filthy rich and after falling to the perils of too much money, lives his next life as a bug.
Being born with a taste for killing does nothing to move Milo forward, but he has something special as a prisoner aboard a spaceship with seriously deranged ethics. Even the Buddha enters Milo's orbit.
Milo, as you may have surmised, is rarely perfect, yet his imperfections reveal our messiness – our deepest longings as human beings. Personal self-reflection is unavoidable as we journey with Milo and discover what it means to be ruled by fear, love, loathing, passion, craving, wisdom and avoidance, to name a few. Some lives are laugh-out-loud funny, others gut-wrenching, all enjoy unimaginable twists and turns, and each will haunt you. Even the afterlife shapes Milo's quest for perfection.
Which brings us to the romance between Death (Suzie) and Milo. Without offering any spoilers, this relationship adds depth and hilarity to this already brilliant work. Love shapes our world, and it is no different for Suzie and Milo.
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"Reincarnation Blues" is a joy to read and will find itself wrapped under my family's Christmas trees this year. It is at times light and full of frolic, at others dark and menacing, but delightfully nuanced with a cast of characters that will lodge in your heart. If you are a fan of Christopher Moore (author of "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal"), then you will surely appreciate Michael Poore's "Reincarnation Blues."
Alysa Selby is the Digital Services Librarian at the Bud Werner Memorial Library.
Michael Poore's "Reincarnation Blues" is available at the Bud Werner Memorial Library and at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore.