Passage: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – January 2, 2002
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|Mass Market Paperback, January 2, 2002||
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“Willis has developed an idea that bears all the authority of a genuine insight: disturbingly plausible, compelling, intensely moving, and ultimately uplifting.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Thoughtful, often fascinating ... Willis makes Lander’s journeys into the afterworld increasingly frightening and compelling.”
— Chicago Tribune
Also by Connie Willis:
To Say Nothing of the Dog
Miracle and Other Christmas Stories
Available wherever Bantam Books are sold
From the Inside Flap
Dr. Joanna Lander is a psychologist specializing in near-death experiences. She is about to get help from a new doctor with the power to give her the chance to get as close to death as anyone can.
A brilliant young neurologist, Dr. Richard Wright has come up with a way to manufacture the near-death experience using a psychoactive drug. Joanna's first NDE is as fascinating as she imagined -- so astounding that she knows she must go back, if only to find out why that place is so hauntingly familiar.
But each time Joanna goes under, her sense of dread begins to grow, because part of her already knows why the experience is so familiar, and why she has every reason to be afraid.
Yet just when Joanna thinks she understands, she's in for the biggest surprise of all -- ashattering scenario that will keep you feverishly reading until the final climactic page.
- Publisher : Bantam (January 2, 2002)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 800 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0553580515
- ISBN-13 : 978-0553580518
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 4.2 x 1.6 x 6.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,351,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Willis' books are long-winded, but I think they should be. Her writing defies genre--it's science fiction, mystery/detective story, psychological thriller, idea exploration, and side-splitting comedy all in one. As a lover of literature, I can always see the flaws in an author's work, but what makes it stand out is the scope. The more complicated or big of an idea you're going for, the higher the likelihood that you're not going to get everything quite right. Her books aren't perfect, but the strengths completely trump the weaknesses. I really hate reading detective stories or watching detective movies where everything is focused so sharply on clues, and the characters instinctively know which clues are significant, etc. The only way to avoid that is to simulate the real problem-solving process, which can be long, and yes, tedious.
The key is to make the long, tedious investigation as interesting as possible, and this is where she succeeds, particularly with Passage. I thought the repetitive jokes were hilarious, and I was extremely impressed by how interesting it was when the characters were floundering around with no idea what they were really trying to do--because that's how it really is sometimes.
Additionally, I have never read a book with the sort of plot-line she employs in Passage. It was very upsetting, but oddly refreshing, and I won't say anything more about it for fear of spoiling it.
And, finally, the treatment of religion. I am a devoutly religious person, but I see religious people everywhere, even within my own faith, who seem to confuse religion with superstition. Many people on both sides of the "conflict" insist that faith and science don't mix. But I have never seen any reason to believe that. Willis' treatment of religious people is sarcastic and mocking ... I don't agree with mocking people, but I do see religious people doing the same close-minded, silly, and hurtful things that she portrays, and I see her point, and it definitely belongs in a book about the exploration of death.
With that said, Passage, like all of her books, comes to a satisfying conclusion, and I highly recommend it as well worth the time and effort it takes to get through.
In this novel, a team of doctors have discovered a way to safely simulate the "near death experiences" (NDE's) of patients who have been revived.
They look for volunteers to undergo the simulation while having their brains scanned. The doctors are trying to find a scientific explanation for the phenomenon of "near-death-experiences" and try to discourage volunteers who believe it is a spiritual experience. For various reasons, volunteers drop out one by one, unwilling or unable to come for their sessions. Finally one of the doctors volunteers to have the testing performed on herself. After several "visits" she begins to recognize the place she is going to on her NDE's is familiar...it is the RMS Titanic.
A fascinating examination of the nature of death, the possibility of an afterlife, a compelling revisitation of the Titanic disaster, a medical
mystery...this is Connie Willis at her absolute best...intelligent, funny,
tragic and absorbing, with a stunning, powerful ending.
Top reviews from other countries
Even if, like myself, you don't agree with the NDE perspective this book presents, you should come away fulfilled. Looking forward to reading more of Connie's works.
There's always a thrill in Willis's dénouements. Here, even the long-awaited revelation of what the heroine's English teacher said in class 20 years earlier is an improbable joy for the reader. Quite how Willis constructs these intricate, cross-genre, multi-themed matrices of character and narrative is beyond me, but long may she continue. This one is powerful, life-enhancing, moving and funny. So no change there.