Editor’s Note: Our friend and colleague Frank Michaels Errington passed away on May 31. Frank was a voracious reader and prolific reviewer, and had filed several reviews with us before we lost him. His family has granted us permission to run those reviews, including the one below.
P.D. Cacek’s brilliant novel, Second Lives, tells the stories of Henry, Sara, Jaime, and Helen, who all pass away in the present day. It also tells us about Timmy, Elisabeth, Aryeh, and Crissy, who have all died at various times over the last century.
The set-up occupies the first third of the book and is overpoweringly sad, yet beautifully written. I hate it when a writer makes me cry. Don’t put this book down. No matter how you feel midway through this incredibly original piece, do not give up. The payoff is definitely worth the wait.
The following quote borders on being spoilerish. Skip it, if you are so inclined…
There had been cases before of patients who had clinically died and been brought back, with or without medical assistance; but four patients who died on the same day, within hours of each other, and, who upon reviving, each exhibited a previously unidentified Cluster B personality disorder with dissociative amnesia, verged on the impossible.
Second Lives is a truly remarkable story of a group of people and their families thrown into an untenable situation and finding how they each deal with it.
Rumor has it, there may be a sequel. If you’re looking for a remarkable read and possibly a good cry, this should be placed at the top of your TBR pile.