Kip - a New York jazz pianist whose career was cut short by a neurological disease - returns from a failed suicide attempt with a vivid, detailed memory of his journey through the afterlife. Resembling the world as he knows it, but unlimited in space and time, it’s unlike any eternity he has contemplated. Its residents are those who choose not to reincarnate, which would erase all memory of who they once were. Kip has a quest: to find his beloved Lucy, a yoga teacher who shared his apartment for years but died of leukemia before he took his own life.
Is she still here? Has she waited for him, or “gone back” to become someone else?
In his odyssey across centuries and locales (Istanbul to the Marquesas Islands, India to Oklahoma and New Guinea) to find her, Kip is guided by Walt Whitman - who urges him to write this memoir on his return.
“The Land of Later On is wonderfully enticing and deeply, achingly moving. The charm is the charm of those happy black-and-white movies of long ago with, for example, Claude Rains as an angel - or the charm of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The other well-earned relation is to Dante’s Divine Comedy (in Mr. Weller’s book, Walt Whitman, rather than Virgil, is the guide). It’s not a contradiction of these comparisons to say that the whole book is the work of Mr. Weller’s inventive and generous mind. What would any human want of an afterlife? To enjoy the surface of the earth. To know what others have cherished - music, books, THINGS of all kinds - to speak all human languages. Above all, to go on loving. But Mr. Weller’s afterlife is neither simple nor easy; good decisions still depend on courage and a passionate heart.” (John Casey, Winner of the National Book Award)
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Food for thought
- Mrs. Sarah Watson