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Summary

What happens to us after we die? Chris Nielsen had no idea, until an unexpected accident cut his life short, separating him from his beloved wife, Annie. Now Chris must discover the true nature of life after death.

But even Heaven is not complete without Annie, and the divided soul mates will do anything to reach each other across the boundaries between life and death. When tragedy threatens to divide them forever, Chris risks his very soul to save Annie from an eternity of despair.

©1978 Richard Matheson (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

"One of the most important writers of the 20th century." (Ray Bradbury)
"Matheson is one of the great names in American terror fiction." ( Philadelphia Inquirer)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing

such a beautiful story on how far some one will go for love and peace just beautiful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Starts well...but

Overall OK, it just feels rushed and not fleshed out enough, I'd have liked it to have been a bit more descriptive. Nicely read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

loved the film but the book is better

i love the film so decided to get this and i enjoyed it from star to finish fascinating view on afterlife well worth listening to the

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Audio Gra Gra
  • 22-10-15

If you don't like weak characters, pass on this

If you have a low tolerance for weak and whiny characters, this might be a book to avoid. Chris is a man who has died but can't let go of his wife - however he can barely muster anywhere near the same determination about his four children.
I am only slightly exaggerating by reporting that nearly every sentence for the first three quarters of the book is some variation of "I needed to see Anne" or "I needed to talk to Anne" or "I needed to help Anne".
After his death he sets about disregarding the advice of EVERYONE in the afterlife who he asks advice from and attempts to reconnect with his wife.
The narration doesn't help either - it's like a smarmy self help therapist and it grated on me the whole way through.
It was an exercise of determination for me to persist through to the end and now that I have finished the wishy washy philosophical mashup of heaven, hell, reincarnation and eternal love of soul mates that is the ending to the story, I offer you one word to sum up this book - twaddle.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 02-08-11

Read I am Legend or The Shrinking Man Not this

I am Legend and The Shrinking Man are really good books. This does not come even close to those two. This is sad and depressing. RM gives us a version of Heaven and Hell and tries not to upset any religion or group of people. Heaven and Hell are all what you make it in your head and what you believe in. This might make a good lecture, but as a story it was just boring. There is no conflict, no plot or plot twists. In trying to please everybody, RM pleases no one.

28 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremy
  • 12-12-16

Skip the book. See the film.

One of those rare instances where the movie actually is better than the book. Way better. It retains the basic outline, salient points, and aesthetic details (not to mention adding a depth and beauty missing in the book) while dispensing with a lot of the arrogant, legalistic, and codependent baggage contained in the book. I will say that the narrator did a fine job, however I found the book to be a somewhat twisted and disturbing version of the film.

12 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Randall
  • 10-01-11

Poor ending

This book was fairly good syfi until the last hour or so. The author then goes into religious rantings that detract from the rest of a good book.

16 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas John
  • 09-02-15

Poor Character Development

Would you try another book from Richard Matheson and/or Robertson Dean?

The Reader, Mr. Dean was Good. I would not buy another book by Matheson.

What was most disappointing about Richard Matheson’s story?

Character development. See Below in comments.

What three words best describe Robertson Dean’s performance?

Prepared, Good Voice.

What character would you cut from What Dreams May Come?

Chris Neilson and Anne Neilson.

Any additional comments?

This review does not discuss nor make an evaluation of the concepts of life after death as discussed by the author. This review is directed to the character and plot development of the book. Some of the other reviews I have read have indicated that Mr. Matheson is a writer and may have written in a genre categorized as horror stories. I find that hard to believe if this book is a guide.

A significant necessity of a good book is for the reader to be able to have some identification or connection with at least one of the main characters. There was none here. We start from the beginning that Mr. Neilson loved his wife dearly. What really comes across is an obsession, not love. It is very syrupy and asks that you not question whether this is really a loving relationship.

Neilson is very closed minded, as is his wife Anne. After his death, he refuses to accept the fact that he has died, ostensibly because he loves his wife. He refuses to accept his death in the face of overwhelming evidence. He gets very angry at everyone, and very quickly so when they cannot see or feel his presence. Neilson is stubborn and obstinate. “I am right and the world is wrong” appears to be his motto.

Neilson’s wife is not much better, exhibiting similar traits. She refuses to even consider Neilson’s presence when others, including her son Richard (and Percy, the seer), do feel his father’s presence. She has her opinions. There is no afterlife is her belief. As the saying goes, “Don’t bother me with the facts. I have my opinions.” In essence, I found Neilson and his wife to be very unpleasant personalities.

I found this book to be similar to another book entitled “Patriots.” In that book, the author attempted to teach the proper use of weapons and firearms in a survival situation, or post apocalyptic environment. A laudable goal if someone does not want to sit and read dry manuals or dry do it yourself books. However, the characters in that book were so dislikable (and dumb) that it made reading the book very difficult. I ended up putting down the book about a quarter of the way through.

This book suffers from the same infirmity. Again, it is laudable that the author wants to develop his perspective of life after death and may even come to with a foundation which involved having thoroughly researched this area. That is highly commendable. However, the presentation of the characters, and the requirement that we believe that theirs was “loving relationship” despite the conduct of these characters, made this book difficult to read. I made it through the first four chapters before putting it down.

The book was a huge disappointment, not for the concepts of an after life. It was a disappointment due to the development and presentation of the personalities, and their conduct.

10 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Shaun
  • 23-11-10

An amazing look into the hereafter...


I fell in love with this book after seeing the movie version starring Robin Williams many years ago. When I originally read this book, I realized how vastly different it was to the movie, in its settings, message and general story-line. This audio book is no different. Personally, as much as I loved the movie, the book is a thousand times better.

This book follows the general ideas of most every religion and smartly puts them into a single concept of "Summer Land", which is everyone’s own personal vision of heaven. This book talks about the various concepts of heaven and hell, and from a first person perspective is both remarkably enticing, and disturbing.

We all have our own concepts of what will or will not happen to us when we die, but this books seems to tackle intelligently all the concepts of heaven and the hereafter, without rebuking or insulting any one belief system.

Richard Matheson has created a beautiful world of the hereafter that anyone would be grateful to go to, based on all major documents from cultures around the world, taking the gross roots of all concepts and finding the balance between them all to create a new world. No matter what your beliefs of life after death, this is a fantstic novel about death, never giving up on life, and knowing when to let go... this journey takes you on a first person perspective on the process of death, finding your own heaven, seeing the paradise the awaits, and the torment of hell we create for ourselves as well in our own negative thoughts and actions...

I highly recommend this book. The narrator is a little bland at times, but easy enough to over look...

16 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Joy
  • 12-04-11

Some Christians may find offensive

It's an odd story told in an odd way. I feel compelled to note that it seemed to go out of it's way to talk about "the church" in a somewhat negative tone but not other religions. It seems to embrace Hindi, and Buddism, which is fine but there isn't much of a balanced approached in my view. All in all it was okay. Vivid depiction of the story as it's told. I only listened at bed time. I must say I had weird/interesting dreams that week.

9 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amy
  • 16-11-10

BOOORING!!!

OMG! I wanted to watch the movie, but I wanted to read the book first. The book version is usually MUCH better and more detailed. I can tell you now, that is a movie I will NEVER see. I want my credit and my time back. Don't waste yours.

15 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • 14-10-12

So much more than the movie.

I watched the movie a few years ago, but wish I'd listened to the book first.. There is so much more to the book. Great story.. Since this was originally written in 1978, it seems even more powerful to me. Mr. Matheson had a great insight into what we now call New Age thinking. Worth the listen to. Paints a vivid picture in your mind of the places the main character is traveling. I'm sure it upset many religious groups when it first came out, and probably still does, but if you are open minded and question very strict main stream religious believes, you'll probably really enjoy this book.

11 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • MattyboySC
  • 03-04-17

Wildly unconventional afterlife views and abrasive concepts

I bought this audiobook because I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Wanting more details, and enjoying the story is much as I did, I assumed that the book would be along the same lines and just as enjoyable.

Not only was the storyline completely different than The movie, the way that afterlife was depicted (especially at the end of the book) was completely different from traditional Christian views. That would not have necessarily been a problem, but I found the concepts portrayed in the book somewhat abrasive, and very strange.

The two main characters in this story are soulmates, and go through four different lifetimes together, changing identity and relationships each time, one of which had them both as female, another as siblings (portraying incestual and gender ambiguities that give the story a confusing twist.)

There is no God figure, no sense of justice, and no rules in the afterlife.

The combination of all the above was so entirely different than the movie, that I completely lost interest in the story, and have no desire to keep it. In retrospect, I would've rather just stuck with the movie.


4 of 12 people found this review helpful