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REVIEW

"A highly unusual plot with people who've had their own true near-death experiences"

PASSAGE by Connie Willis deals with near-death experiences from the viewpoint of a neurologist attempting to chemically induce NDEs and a psychologist interviewing people who've had their own true NDE. The scientists team up and propose various theories regarding what the NDE really represents.

The story is tense and fast paced and had me racing to the shocking climax. The ending is somewhat confusing, but you can draw your own conclusions. Secondary characters are wonderfully well drawn, including an elderly veteran who regales the heroine with war stories and a severely ill child with a fixation on disasters. Also present is the publicity hungry author whose book promotes NDEs as a spiritual experience. In this regard, I was reminded of the movie, Contact, with its conflict between faith and science. What is real and what is not? Do we have faith in an afterlife, or is the NDE simply a chemical reaction? Is brain death the end for us, or is there more?

When the heroine in PASSAGE volunteers to become a test subject in order to experience simulated NDEs herself, she gets more than she bargained for. A highly unusual plot twist will keep you turning pages, but inevitably, the real answers rest in the Great Beyond. Ms. Willis's interpretation is merely speculation; it's your choice which model you choose to believe. Nancy J. Cohen Copyright August 2001
2001 for ParaNormal Romance Reviews

Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted April 19, 2002

SUMMARY

Amazon.com's Best of 2001
Most of us would rather not spend a lot of time contemplating death, but the characters in Connie Willis's novel Passage make a living at it. Joanna Lander is a medical researcher specializing in Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and how the brain constructs them. Her partner in this endeavor is Richard Wright, a single-minded scientist who induces NDEs in healthy people by injecting a compound that tricks the brain into thinking it's dying. Joanna and Richard team up and try to find test subjects whose ability to report their experiences objectively hasn't been wrecked.

When Joanna decides to become a test subject and see an NDE firsthand, she discovers that death is both more and less than she expected. Telling anything at all about her experience would be spoiling the book's suspenseful buildup, but readers are in for some shocks as Willis reveals the secrets and mysteries of the afterlife.

the ending will leave you breathless, and more than a little haunted. Passage masterfully blends tragedy, humor, and fear in an unforgettable meditation on humanity and death. --Therese Littleton

 

Passage
by Connie Willis

Bantam Doubleday Dell
January 2, 2002
ISBN #0553580515
464 pages
Paperback (reprint)
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