Science Tackles the Afterlife
Author(s): Mary Roach
CD - unabridged
Audio (7 discs)
Product Number: BN4818
Released: Jun 26, 2013
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781480532946
Narrator/s: Bernadette Quigley
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
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What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that' s that - the million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my laptop?" In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die. She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences. Along the way, she enrolls in an English medium school, gets electromagnetically haunted at a university in Ontario, and visits a Duke University professor with a plan to weigh the consciousness of a leech. Her historical wanderings unearth soul-seeking philosophers who rummaged through cadavers and calves' heads, a North Carolina lawsuit that established legal precedence for ghosts, and the last surviving sample of " ectoplasm" in a Cambridge University archive.

Professional reviews

"Mary Roach looks into death's mysteries but doesn't solve any of them. However, this hilarious account of her research into reincarnation, the soul, mediums, telepathy, and near-death experiences creates pleasant entertainment. Reader Bernadette Quigley captures the fun of the multicultural characters interviewed for the book, using spoof accents of Indian, Yiddish, French, and British interviewees. When asked what kind of cheese is in the soufflŽ, the snobby English waiter, as portrayed by Quigley, answers, "Sliced." Quigley varies the pitch, volume, and speed of her voice, sometimes even dropping to a whisper. Such clever inflections confirm Quigley's involvement in a dark expedition that seems to go nowhere, but which keeps itself interesting with its side trips. J.A.H. (c) AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine"