A book about being a ghost
October 2, 2019 4:02 AM   Subscribe

I read a book around 2002-2005 or so that I'm trying to remember the title of. There was a man who died and then existed in a misty world where he waited until the last person who remembered him died, and then he would fade away. It wasn't a fantasy or sci fi book, I think it was a contemporary literary novel.

In the misty world there was a seashore of sorts and a tower? I know I was trying to read the Man Booker longlist at one point, and I thought it was John Banville but this doesn't match his books at all. It sounds like something from a Murikami novel but I don't know it was from him. Does anyone know this book?
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Milan Kundera wrote two novels which included this theme, sort of, alongside other themes. I don't have them here, and I don't remember a tower.
posted by mumimor at 4:15 AM on October 2, 2019

Is it one of the stories from Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman?
posted by Catseye at 4:25 AM on October 2, 2019

I believe you may be thinking of The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier.
posted by pie_seven at 4:30 AM on October 2, 2019 [11 favorites]

I know you're looking for a particular novel and this isn't it, but for you if you're interested in other books with that feel, or future readers, I feel like there is something of this in Sweetland by Michael Crummey.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:25 AM on October 2, 2019

This is a short story and not a book, but could it be Kelly Link's Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose?
posted by zoetrope at 7:42 AM on October 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think Etgar Keret has a short story really similar to this in his book "The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God & Other Stories." It's not a novel, but the other descriptions match from what I remember of reading it.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:52 AM on October 2, 2019

pie_seven has it: that's The Brief History of the Dead. Criminally underrated book.
posted by holborne at 8:04 AM on October 2, 2019

This was also a major plot point in the Pixar movie Coco.
posted by Mchelly at 8:27 AM on October 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

Sebold’s The Lovely Bones has this device as part of the novel’s plot. The main character is female.
posted by childofTethys at 8:53 AM on October 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

This isn't the story you're looking for but your question made me find the link. A village farmer honors a very small god. I don't know who originally wrote it.
posted by theora55 at 9:10 AM on October 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

See also the short story "The Brief History Of The Dead", by Kevin Brockmeier (who wrote the novel, not sure which came first or if this is an excerpt or what)
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:19 PM on October 2, 2019

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