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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Author Anthony Weller’s short novel about a bewildering but intriguing life after death is a feat of imagination and writing...The Land of Later On reads like a grownup’s bedtime story that the likable Kip is relating under the most fraught and urgent circumstances. When you leave this not-so-strange world, you may fall asleep, but Kip has the power to penetrate dreams." -Rockford Register Star --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"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, National Book Award winner (SPARTINA) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (December 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 146924263X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1469242637
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,237,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ANTHONY WELLER was born in Georgia in 1957. He is the author of four novels--The Garden of the Peacocks, The Polish Lover, The Siege of Salt Cove and The Land of Later On--and a travel memoir of India and Pakistan, Days and Nights on the Grand Trunk Road. He also edited two collections of his father's Pulitzer Prize-winning World War II reporting, First into Nagasaki and Weller's War. For many years he was a highly-regarded jazz and classical guitarist.

Married, he lives in coastal Massachusetts and Italy.

Visit www.anthonyweller.com & www.writeweller.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Jon Morris on January 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The blurb on the front cover of the book reads: "wonderfully enticing and deeply, achingly moving." The first half of this statement is undoubtedly true; the second half is most certainly not. This will perhaps sound more harsh than I intend it. Weller's book is a short, fast and--for the most part--pleasurable read. And the Land of Later On is a fascinating place. Indeed, one can easily imagine the book becoming a movie--and a good movie at that. Perhaps even, I am sorry to say, better than the book. I'm still struggling with why I believe this to be so.

The novel has been compared to Kevin Brockmeier's The Brief History of the Dead, and rightly so; it is similar in both setting and theme (but not plot). Both authors make connectedness the central idea; Brockmeier does it indirectly, and Weller overtly. But Brockmeier's book has a complexity, a profundity that this one lacks, and it is much more suspenseful. Here, instead, the cards are often already on the table, so what keeps you reading is not so much suspense or characterization, but the fascinating setting and occasionally witty dialogue.

For me, the book's greatest detraction was its inability to move me. Weller is better at telling you about a relationship (or his characters) than he is at showing it to you. That is to say, you read about the characters' lonliness and their desires, but you never manage to feel them yourself.

Weller is close to being a really good writer, and I will certainly be on the lookout for future offerings by the man. But he's not there yet. Something here--in both the events and the characters--rings flat. Still, anyone with a bit of patience and an interest in a speculative afterlife should give the book a try. Every writer, Walt tells Kip in the novel, has his own ideal reader in mind, and I should hardly presume to be Weller's.
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Ken Lopez on October 17, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good books arrive like gifts from some better place - where there is more perspective, more wisdom, more kindness and love. Anthony Weller's book purports to be just such a volume -- a guidebook to the Afterlife, and counter-guidebook to wrong-headed ideas we may have about it -- and it succeeds in becoming what it describes: a guide not only to what matters most in this life -- love, the companionship of good friends, and good music, Weller's main character Kip might say -- but also to what is powerful enough to survive beyond us as well -- in this case, the guidebook Kip undertakes to write, the vitality of Walt Whitman's life and poetry, and the book Weller has actually written. I'm glad there's a print version of this coming: I not only wanted to mark it up -- underline passages, dog-ear certain pages (and, yes, I know a Kindle can let you do that sort of thing but I didn't want to have to learn how) -- but I also wanted to be able to give this book away to people I care about, and not have to worry about or know if they had a Kindle. This is a great book, filled with more compassion and insight than I expect in a novel -- and, among many other small gifts it contains, the best description I've ever read of improvisational musical collaboration. In fact, music provides powerful metaphors a number of times in the story in ways that are, to a non-musician like myself, informative and enlightening, and have the ring of truth. (If you look at the Music Bio at anthonyweller.com you can see why that would be the case.) One of the most enjoyable and compelling books I've read in a long time, and one that I think will stay with me for a long time.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By David B. Spencer on October 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is delightfully unpredictable, thoughtful, poignant, and laugh-out-loud funny. Weller takes on the issue we are all most afraid to face -- mortality -- and creates a fable that allows us to consider the possibility of what might happen to us, well, later on. His characters are colorful, amusing, and insightful...and just as confused as the rest of us who for the moment are still in the land of here and now. Weller's language is bright, vivid, and distinctive and he succeeds in taking the reader on an enriching journey that you will hate to see come to an end. Don't miss this one -- it's wonderful!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Weber on January 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The premise of the book really intrigued me, but as I read on I found the writer's style too verbose and redundant. I became tired of the flashbacks Kip had, going back to when he and his wife, Lucy, were still alive. They could have helped paint a better picture of the main characters, but they became downright boring after a while. I made it through 58% (according to my Kindle) and had to stop reading. I kept waiting for something to actually happen, and very little ever did. Even the introduction of Walt Whitman as a guide became tedious to read about. This book just didn't hold my attention, unfortunately.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By W. V. Buckley on February 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A friend recommended Anothny Weller's The Land of Later On to me and heaped high praise on the book. I still remember he used words like "magical" and "lyrical" to describe the book. Finally I picked up a copy of the book and found there were, indeed, lyrical and magical passages in the book, but to reach them required trodding through a lot of non-magical and non-lyrical prose.

The Land of Later On is about a jazz pianist named Kip suffering a debilitating neurological condition that robs him of his ability to play. Life has already taken the love of his life, Lucy, from him and after four years without her, as his condition continues to deteriorate, he downs a handful of sleeping pills and awakes in a sort of afterlife.

Sort of a secular Divine Commedy without either God or Satan, the Land of Later On allows souls to travel instantaneously between places and times. Those who grow bored with such an afterlife can opt to go back and be reincarnated, losing all memory of their past in the process. Aided by Walt Whitman as a sort of stand-in for Dante's Virgil, Kip begins a journey to find his Lucy, unable to understand why she has not been waiting for him to join her. Is she angry at him? Has she chosen to go back? Has she traded in the love of her life for a love of her afterlife?

No spoilers here, but Kip and Walt travel from New York to Istanbul to India to the South Seas to Oklahoma trying to piece together the clues to Lucy's absence. There's a lot of talking (and talking ... and talking) about love and life and, well, the meaning of it all. I'm sure those are the parts of the book my friend found profound. I suppose I would have, too, had it not come across as a sort of Theories of Romance 101.
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