The Life of the World to Come
St. Martin's Press // Macmillan // 2016
Leo Brice is dead, in a sense (not the traditional one). When the fantastical woman who once defined his future bolts to pursue a fantasy life of her own, Leo is forced to come to terms with a reality that more closely resembles an epilogue than the story he'd hoped it might be.
Consumed by the question of an afterlife, and confused by the future and present, the struggling attorney enlists the help of a condemned client, a disgraced ex-president, and a host of gentle friends to bring him back to Earth—no small task, when there are so many other Earths to be imagined.
THE LIFE OF THE WORLD TO COME is a book about: actors and lawyers, the triumph of sincerity over fantasy, the open question of death, reincarnation, religion, recursion, and the ecstasy of reality. It is rich and heavy and light, like a good mousse or a person's life. As Leo learns to cope with the idea that the world he sees may be the only one he'll ever know, he is forced to confront circumstances comic and tragic in equal measure—and we are with him, from the dawn of time to the endless dusk of eternity. Naturally, everyone dies.
Praise for The Life of the World to Come:
“Acutely contemporary . . . a meditation, mercifully accessible, on what it means to be young, to be human, to be thwarted, to be left always wondering―when the lights go out will there be illumination?”
―Elizabeth Kelly, bestselling author of THE LAST SUMMER OF THE CAMPERDOWNS
“In these pages you'll find a wonderful gift, an engrossing story as hugely entertaining as it is genuinely insightful. Cluchey is a true wordsmith, possessing a whiplash inducing wit coupled with a talent for crafting beautiful moments that stop you still and demand to be savored. There's life in these characters, a keen sense how everything can just be okay and how that can still be a fantastic thing.”
―Bradley Somer, author of FISHBOWL
“The Life of the World to Come is like a strike across the jaw after you've fainted: it braces and wakes you. And just when you think you've found your bearings, it fells you once again. Dan Cluchey has written a smart, weird, heartful book that will whisper to you long after you've put it down.”
―Lindsay Hunter, author of UGLY GIRLS
“Smart, sad and crackling with wit, The Life of the World to Come is a book about love, life and what happens after. Cluchey captures the exquisite longing of youthful heartbreak with deep feeling and rich detail. Like a boozy gab fest with a too-smart-for-his-own-good college friend, you'll savor it long into the night and feel sorry when it's over.”
―Christopher Noxon, author of PLUS ONE
“A novel both timeless and timely. The Life of the World to Come is a terrifically distilled love story. The best part is that it’s honest: we grow up; we grow wiser. But if we’re truly lucky, we never lose total sense of our earlier hearts and selves.”
―Hannah Pittard, author of REUNION
Reviews & Interviews
“Indeed, The Life of the World to Come is a heady novel, contemporary in every way. Cluchey's sentences are rhythmic, verbally acrobatic, and fun to read. They swept me away early and carried me buoyantly to the end.” ―Blake Kimzey
“More than a comedy of manners about a guy dumped by his girlfriend, in this lightly philosophical and funny story about a breakup, Leo Brice, a lawyer, contemplates the nature of time and the afterlife. While he investigates the case of a death row inmate, Leo broods and analyzes his failed relationship [telling his] story in a self-deprecating, humorous way, with irony and metaphysical comic touches that ease the sorrow of an old story.” ―Joseph Peschel
“Scales vast ideas with levity and speed… a world where each sentence entertains….a surprising, well-crafted story.” ―Heidi Sistare
“Ambitious… Cluchey manages to attack the subject with broad but beautiful strokes. [Leo Brice’s] suffering becomes a vehicle for the reader's deeper understanding of the workings of the heart and the mind. .. A former speech- and op-ed writer, Cluchey crafts his novel as both a love letter to love itself and as a guide to healing when it's gone.” ―Josh Potter