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    The Powell's Playlist | February 27, 2015

    Kazuo Ishiguro: IMG Kazuo Ishiguro's Playlist for The Buried Giant

    The eight songs on this playlist didn't "inspire" The Buried Giant, nor did I play them out loud while writing. And with the notable exception of... Continue »
    1. $18.87 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      The Buried Giant

      Kazuo Ishiguro 9780307271037


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Elsewhere Cover



Author's Note

Dear Readers,

When you ask a writer why she has written a book, if she only gives you one reason, you can be reasonably sure she is either lying or has been strongly encouraged to whittle it down to one primary reason. In my particular case, there were a million reasons for writing Elsewhere. Here are four of them.

1. I have a good friend from school, Joe. As he lives on one coast and I on the other, I only see him every couple of years. During one of my biennial lunches with Joe, he said, "My mother says she's not going to live much longer."

And I said, "Joe, I'm so sorry. Is she sick?"

"No," he said, "but she's almost sixty years old. And the last time I was home, she said that, practically speaking, she only had thirty, forty years left, tops — in other words, less time ahead of her than behind her. So, thirty, forty years, and then she dies, that's it." And, at the time, this struck me as terribly depressing. Not the death part so much, because that is inevitable. But the way thirty or forty years of life could be viewed as little more than a coda.

2. About a year before I began writing my book, my dog got three lumps, and I was completely convinced it was cancer and that she would probably die at any moment. The lumps turned out to be fatty cysts and completely benign. But, for a time, I became quite obsessed with dog mortality. I still would like to believe that there's an after-life, not so much for myself, but for my dog. (I was equally obsessed with my dog's inability to tell me IN ENGLISH if she were sick or would, say, just like a snack.)

3. I do not have a particularly good reason why I conceived of the after-life as backwards. I will say that there was a particular factor in my life that made it easy for me to imagine Elsewhere as it is: my last name starts with a Z, so when I was in school it means that I was always called last for everything, and stuck sitting at the back of the class. When your last name starts with Z, you begin hoping for things to be backwards from a very early age.

4. Having not been there, I have no idea what the after-life is actually like. But, if there is an after-life, I would hope it is the way Thomas Wolfe describes it in You Can't Go Home Again: "To lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth— "—Whereon the pillars of this earth are founded, toward which the conscience of this world is tending—a wind is rising, and the rivers flow."

Oh yes, and I hope that there are dogs.

Gabrielle Zevin

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puddleglum, September 21, 2006 (view all comments by puddleglum)
I guess the success of this book is to present an afterlife where no Creator is revealed, because "He, She, or It" is simply whatever people wanted "He, She, or It" to be before they died. Therefore, there is no personal God at all! To some this might be comforting, but it does not allow for any Further Purpose other than existence as it is known on earth! Plus a couple mentions of sex, hopping into back seats of cars, and one night stands... I guess just typical young adult fare. (Fifteen years of age seems to be the new low-end standard for such things.)

Reincarnation is really what is all about, with the twist you get younger so you forget enough to eventually be born...again! I honestly feel she should be recognized as the founder of a new religion especially aimed at young people.
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Jennifer Bradshaw, August 16, 2006 (view all comments by Jennifer Bradshaw)
I found this book to be a quite intruiging look at the afterlife. Living your life (death) backwards toward your birth is like a facinating take on the mystery of what happens after we die. This book is very original and is enjoyable to read.
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Product Details

Family - General
Ellis, Ann Dee
Rock, Maya
McGhee, Alison
Zevin, Gabrielle
Social Situations - Death & Dying
Social Situations - New Experience
Future life
Situations / New Experience
Social Issues - New Experience
Social Issues - Death & Dying
Situations / Death & Dying
Family/General (see also headings under Social Issues)
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-New Experience
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 7
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 12 up to 17

Related Subjects

Children's » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Death and Dying
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » New Experience
Young Adult » General

0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 352 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374320911 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Even readers who have strong views on what happens after death may find themselves intrigued by the fascinating world of 'Elsewhere,' the place 15-year-old Liz ends up after she is killed in a bicycle accident. A surreal atmosphere permeates chapter one as Liz awakens on a ship (mostly occupied by elderly people), unaware of its destination. Her situation gradually comes into focus after she arrives at the island of Elsewhere and is greeted by her grandmother, who died before Liz was born. Liz learns that the aging process works differently in this land of the dead: instead of getting older, humans (and animals) grow younger. When they reach infancy, they are sent down the River to be reborn on Earth. In other ways, Elsewhere resembles the world Liz left behind; residents work at jobs (although here, everyone has a chance to pursue an 'avocation... something a person does to make his or her soul complete'), celebrate holidays and form friendships. Liz also falls in love for the first time, while her grandmother (who has progressed back to her thirties) becomes engaged to a famous rock star; and readers will likely be intrigued by the 'strictly forbidden' Well. Prudently skirting the issue of God's role in Elsewhere (when she asks about God, Liz is told simply 'God's there in the same way He, She, or It was before to you. Nothing has changed'), Margarettown author Zevin, in her first novel for young people, bends the laws of physics and biology to create an intricately imagined world. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , In this delightful novel death is a begining, a new start. Liz is killed in a hit a run accident and her 'life' takes a very unexpected turn. At nearly sixteen she knows she will never get married, never have children, and perhaps never fall in love. But in Elsewhere all things carry on almost as they did on earth except that the inhabitants get younger, dogs and humans can communicate (at last) new relationships are formed and old ones sadly interrupted on earth are renewed.

Full of the most ingenious detail and woven around the most touching and charming relationships this is a novel of hope, of redemption and re-birth. It is a novel that tells of sadness with heart-breaking honesty and of love and happiness with uplifting brilliance.

"Review" by , "A quiet book that provides much to think about and discuss."
"Review" by , "[A] work of powerful beauty....[T]his inventive novel slices right to the bone of human yearning, offering up an indelible vision of life and death as equally rich sides of the same coin."
"Review" by , "An unusual premise and a thoughtful treatment make Zevin's first effort at writing for young adults a success. Will captivate teens ready for a thought-provoking read. Hopeful and engaging."
"Review" by , "Great humor and speculation, on pets as well as people."
"Review" by , "Zevin's touch is marvelously light even as she considers profundities, easily moving among humor, wisdom and lyricism....No plot synopsis can convey what a rich, wise spell this book casts."
"Review" by , "A fun and thought-provoking page-turner. Readers...will relish Zevin's lively imagination and her fast-moving plot. Buy this book for them."
"Review" by , "Elsewhere is a funny, fast-paced, and fascinating novel. The concept is completely out there and yet the emotions are so weirdly realistic. I loved reading the story of Liz's life (death?)."
"Review" by , "Funny and pensive, happy and heartbreaking. Readers from a broad range of beliefs will find this a quirky and touching exploration of the Great Beyond."
"Synopsis" by , Elsewhere is where 15-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. However, Liz wants to turn 16, not 14 again in this moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss.
"Synopsis" by ,
Is it possible to grow up while getting younger?
"Synopsis" by ,
Reality TV has a dark future in this thought-provoking thriller

To the people suffering on the war-torn mainland, Bliss Island seems like an idyllic place. And it is: except for the fact that the island is a set, and the islanders lives are a performance. Theyre the stars of a hit TV show, Blissful Days—Characters are adored by mainland viewers, yet in constant danger of being cut if their ratings dip too low. And no one really knows what happens to cut Characters.

Nettie Starling knows shes been given the chance of a lifetime when a producer offers suggestions to help her improve her mediocre ratings—especially when those suggestions involve making a move on the boy shes been in love with for years. But she'll soon have to decide how far she's willing to go to keep the cameras fixed on her. . . especially when she learns what could happen to her if she doesn't.

"Synopsis" by ,
For fans of Sara Zarr and Stephen Chbosky, an achingly raw and surprisingly funny novel about coping with loss

Emmys best friend Kim had promised to visit from the afterlife after she died. But so far Kim hasnt shown up even once. Emmy blames herself for not believing hard enough. Finally, as the one-year anniversary of Kim's death approaches, Emmy is visited by a ghost—but its not Kim. Its Emmys awful dead science teacher.

Emmy cant help but think that she's failed at being a true friend. But as more ghosts appear, she starts to realize that she's not alone in her pain. Kim would have wanted her to move forward—and to do that, Emmy needs to start letting go.

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