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Heuer Lost and Found Paperback – April 23, 2015
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To put things in perspective, let us consider a phone call to a funeral house early in the story. It begins with the line: “This is Werner Heuer, Herr Forsythe. My wife and I have need of your services today. My son is dead.” Now consider the sentiment of Mr. Forsythe on the other end, depicted a few lines later: Charlie, calculating profit after disbursements, felt better already.
The author’s mastery begins with the very element she chooses to play with to pacify the contrast in her story - time. She opens the door at the universally agonizing hour of 9 AM on a Monday, then begins to step back, before we’re suddenly flung back to Day One: Postmortem - 15 minutes on. The only constant from then on is subtle versions of time-swing that soaks us in.
It is fascinating to watch people on two sides of a wall - oblivious to each other and looking at the same thing in an entirely different way - talk to each other but not listen. This is especially so when that wall is the border between life and after-life. In the story, we have Enid on one side, who loses someone once important to her - Heuer - without a chance to say a final goodbye. On the other side, we have Heuer whose story, and in some way, life itself unfolds after his death. As I recently expressed to the author in an interview, in a single stroke she introduces us to both our greatest fear and our greatest wish. And as she had then clarified, the very idea leads to the conclusion that there is no first or second chance, nor is there a wall. Everything we experience in the pages of time is in continuum.
A. B. Funkhauser’s likes to play with her narration. She liberally uses non-English phrases, alternates between classy and backstreet lingo, and most pleasingly, embeds past conversations in between the current ones. This fusion aids the above idea. But perhaps the most moving of moments comes when the dead asks God to prove His existence and has his prayers answered almost immediately, at which he frolics, “Yes ! Yes! There is a god!” That joy establishes the fickle unending of our quest for purpose.
The author compels us to make peace with a whole lot of commotion. For, in narrating the psyche of the deceased, she makes us face a choice - to use the time we have in peaceful altruism, or to burn ourselves out in constant churn of tit-for-tat scheming, which will not end even after we die. So from a Bastard’s indifferent generosity, to a Rat’s unconditional love, to an inanimate after-life existence in a Lamp, Ms. Funkauser’s message to us is beautifully laid out. As she states, beauty and elegance is not always spotted or even appreciated even when it’s right in front of your face.
Her ultimate directive can be summed up in one word: Live. But it takes her book to understand how.
I started out a bit confused in reading this. Unlike some who can read for large blocks of time, I couldn’t. The timing threw me off such that I had to go back several times. That said, this book was unique and chock full of character depth.
It definitely makes you have second thoughts about funeral homes, and reminds us – we are all human.
Again – the entire approach to this dilemma of Heuer being stuck between planes was well thought out and well written. I love a good dose of sarcasm mixed with reality. It is obvious the author has extensive experience in the business. Like any other stressful line of work, this field has its own steam release valve in humor.
I’ve not previously read any of this authors books but of the reviews I’ve done and books I’ve read – this is an author to follow.
The only caution I have – though A.B. Funkhauser is a very intelligent author – using a lot of big words tends to frustrate and pull a reader out of the story. I hope to see more of her books soon.
I give this book 5 stars.
Now I ask you, is that an appropriate setting to ponder some of life’s perplexing enigma’s?
Gifted author A. B. Funkhauser’s inside knowledge of the industry tackles this challenge with a compelling story centered around a very dead yet entertainingly eloquent protagonist and his alcohol-propelled former love who happens to be a funeral director. What follows is a captivating read with more twists and turns than a casket full of earthworms. HEUER LOST AND FOUND is a delightful literary adventure crossing numerous genres--horror, mystery, humor, thriller – you pick – leaving no doubt why this brilliant debut novel is winning top awards. Fair warning: only those who pay close attention will fully appreciate this stunningly clever plot.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a witty, fun look into the functions and disfunctions of a funeral home...Read more
When you’re dead, you’re dead right? Apparently not! The main character Heuer the lawyer, ‘bumps’ into his ex Enid, and a colourful array of characters...Read more