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The Afterlife of Emerson Tang: A Novel Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- ASIN : B008LQ1TZK
- Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st edition (March 12, 2013)
- Publication date : March 12, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 921 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 336 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,631,844 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The Afterlife of Emerson Tang is a fascinating story for automotive buffs and mystery fans alike. But it's far more than just a car book; it's a well-crafted fictional account about hope, grief, and much more.
This tale is narrated by Beth Corvid, the nurse, companion and archivist to the mysterious and wealthy Emerson Tang, a connoisseur in the final stages of terminal illness. While preparing Tang's estate for his passing, Beth is approached by the celebrated avant-garde artist Helene Moreau, who wants to reunite the body of a classic 1954 Beacon automobile with its original engine, which she believes to be in Tang's possession. But we find that her quest is of particular interest and affinity to Tang, who may seek to prevent Moreau's obsession from its fulfillment.
Author Champa likens the engine's separation from its body to an incorporeal soul. As her characters narrate the past glories of the shuttered Beacon Motor Company, now on the verge of the launch of its first electric vehicle, the author is perhaps offering an admonishment: unless we are to become obsolete we need to focus on remaking the future, and relinquishing those worn-out models of the past.
The fictional car in this novel is called the Beacon, and it recalls several famed brands from the past. As I read this book, I began to find loose parallels between the fictional 1954 Beacon and the 1948 Tucker (nicknamed the "Tucker Torpedo"), a car which was the creation of the late Preston Tucker. That vehicle built by that designer and entrepreneur introduced many features that have since become widely used in modern cars. Could this be possible? Only author Paula Champa knows.
The Afterlife of Emerson Tang is a fast moving tale with interesting characters, coupled to a fascinating and well-crafted plot. Author Paula Champa clearly knows her topics due to her background as an automotive journalist, and this one is an excellent debut offering. It's more than just another car book, and as she asks within one of the passages: "What is a vehicle but a private capsule?"
The car's chassis (body) seems to stand for the human physical form and the engine represents the soul or spirit in the novel. Narrator Beth briefly died as a four year old from pneumonia and she was brought back to life but seemingly never felt her body and soul connected again as she believed her soul's work in life was already finished. Terminally ill Emerson is desperate to prolong his life and greatly fears the omega which is his term for death. The book has several similar ironies. Other characters have various connections with each other that help them form insights in to eternal matters. This is deep philosophical territory paired with a love story directed at a car and though the concept is unique and bold I can't give THE AFTERLIFE OF EMERSON TANG more than an average rating.