Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Inhabited World - Amy's Review

The original review is posted here.

David Long
Library Book
277 pgs

One of the reasons that I joined the NYT Notable Books challenge was to read books that I wouldn't normally choose.

I wouldn't normally choose a book in which the protagonist, Evan, has committed suicide, doesn't really know why, and now lives in a realm somewhere between life and the afterlife.

Trapped within the confines of the property where he lived when he was alive, Evan watches as various tenants come and go but it is the most recent one, Maureen, that he seems to feel a connection to. She is in the midst of trying to break off an affair and through his own life experiences, Evan seems to understand the feelings that she is facing and through watching her, he learns to understand the depths of his own despair and what caused him to commit suicide.

I didn't close this book with a satisfied sigh when I was done. There were some things that left me feeling unsettled and I suspect there are things that I will be mulling over for quite a while to come.

However, I did enjoy "The Inhabited World" and I am glad I read it.


Wendy said...

You are the second person in the group to read this who liked is not the type of book I would normally pick up, but I must admit to being intrigued by it. I will be reading this I hope sometime in the next couple of months. Thanks for posting your review!

kookiejar said...


I thought it was interesting how Evan killed himself because he couldn't handle all the small disappointments in his life, but Maureen had a truly horrible, shattering thing happen to her and she became stronger. It's too bad Evan and Maureen didn't meet while he was still alive, maybe she could have saved him.

Amy said...

Wendy: I hope you enjoy it!


Kookie: That was the biggest thing that intrigued me about this book. How some people face huge obstacles and emerge stronger while people like Evan "live a charmed life" as his mom said and still he gave up.

I wondered the same thing about Evan and Maureen. I didn't understand how Claudia was so quick to give up on Evan either and I thought that helping her with Janey may have given him purpose to keep trying.

kookiejar said...


I think you are right, Amy. If Evan had been able to keep Janey in his life (despite all of her baggage..i.e. daddy issues) he never would have killed himself.

Especially because he saw first hand how suicide can impact the people who are left behind. He never would have done that to Janey.

David Long said...

I think I've always been interested in the way turning points in our lives can hinge on simple small moments. Evan knows that there are depressions that are utterly black and unable to be withstood. He realizes that his isn't that kind. His was "surmountable," he says. He just didn't surmount it. It's sort of like what happened once in the mountains just east of the valley where I lived in Montana: a small plane carrying two people crashed and both were killed--but it had come so close to making it over the ridge that the engine landed on the other side. I knew someone who was at the scene as a member of Search and Rescue.