Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore
Magical Realism | Fantasy
Published by Del Rey Books
Released August 22nd, 2017
Goodreads | Amazon
“Perfection is being happy with what you are right now.”
I apologize in advance for this review, because I have no idea how to even start reviewing this incredible piece of literature. Days after finishing this novel, I’m still thinking about it constantly. I already want to read it again, in fact. It made me want to read everything Michael Poore has ever written. Yes, it’s that good.
My brother, who is also an avid reader, recommended this book to me some time ago, but unfortunately, it took me months to actually get around to reading it. While I wished I had read it a long time ago, I’m just thankful that this story is now in my life.
I hope I’m not building this book up too much for you guys. Actually, I kind of hope I am, because you should read it.
Reincarnation Blues is about Milo, a man who has been reincarnated almost 10,000 times. He’s told by his afterlife handlers (I don’t know how else to describe them), Mama and Nan, that he’s only got a few more chances to reach perfection, or he will become nothing. His goal doesn’t become just reaching perfection however; he tries to help his girlfriend, Death (aka. Suzie), to be able to live the life she wants (or, afterlife I suppose).
While I was reading Reincarnation Blues I kept getting strong Salman Rushdie vibes due to the magical realism and the type of dark humor that Poore wove into the story, but this is very much a unique novel that I’ve never encountered before. Poore has a unique writing voice and a story-telling technique that made me fall in love with the book pretty much immediately.
We get to learn the stories of Milo’s last few lives, along with shorter tales of his previous lives. I particularly loved the stories following Milo during the end of life on Earth, as one of the Buddha’s disciples, when he makes a powerful sacrifice on another world, and then his experience as a juggler in the afterlife.
His lives are lived in a non-linear chronology, as time doesn’t matter as much in the afterlife and in choosing his next life. We jump back and forth in time, but no worries if time travel isn’t your thing – you barely even notice it.
The love story between Milo and Suzie (aka Death) was well-done and left my heart breaking at times and smiling at others. Both of their characters were well-developed and had their own goals. Milo needed to find a way to reach perfection, while Suzie wanted to be more than Death.
There’s so much dark humor, along with wisdom about making the most of our own lives. Filled with plenty of joys and tragedies, this book will make you feel so many different emotions as you turn each page, making the experience of reading this novel quite powerful.
I don’t use the term masterpiece often, but Michael Poore’s Reincarnation Blues is a masterpiece. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year and has easily forced its way into my top ten favorite books of all time. It’s been ages since I’ve read something as unique and imaginative as this, and I recommend that everyone read it.