Sum by David Eagleman is a book I did not expect to enjoy as much as I did. These are 40 tales from the afterlife and even though I vaguely remember Jen (Jen Campbell) praising this collection I didn’t really recall what she said when I bought it. So when I opened it expecting ghost stories and creepy tales I was sort of disappointed. But this disappointment lasted all of three seconds because within those three seconds I was hooked and this has now become my favourite short “story” collection of 2016.
The stories are about what one does after the afterlife, or in the afterlife, if there is a heaven or hell and what this could mean. Does heaven mean the things we like or the biblically renowned heaven and does hell mean what we dislike? All the “stories” are basically musings and notions put forth by the absolutely brilliant David Eagleman and they will blow your mind.
The stories vary from four pages to about 1 page in length and that’s absolutely perfect for what it is. And some of the ideas here are amazing! For instance, in the title story, Sum, he talks about what the afterlife would be like and how it compares to our present life, “You spend two months driving the street in front of your house, seven months having sex. You sleep for thirty years without opening your eyes. For five years straight you flip through magazines while sitting on a toilet.” You can imagine how the rest goes, each with a sum of the things you have done while on earth.
It took me a while to finish this book, about two weeks if I’m recalling correctly but that doesn’t reflect on how interesting this book is. In fact I’d highly recommend you take these book in slow instalments, ration the awesomeness because there aren’t too many books like this. I cannot express how absolutely beautiful this book is, each story makes you wonder, makes you think and makes you grateful for what you have right now or fills you with despair for what is to come. I love Eagleman’s mind and cannot wait to read what else he releases.
Note : I wouldn’t recommend this for very religious people who do not like making light of their texts, while Sum is not even remotely disrespectful it does question things and that might piss them off.