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The Library of Unfinished Business by Patricia Bell


This highly original novel is a genre-bending read that I would highly recommend. It’s hard to believe it’s a debut novel, as it’s so beautifully written and accomplished.

The novel follows the story of Maurice, a librarian in a small town, living a safe, constrained life when he dies one Monday morning in a car crash. He finds himself in a very unusual and unexpected afterlife – a place populated with many Biblical characters, a drunken barmaid, a karaoke machine, naked people and angels that are alarming in more ways than one.


Meanwhile, back on earth, Maurice’s daughter Andy is tasked with writing the eulogy for her father – a task she struggles with as much as she struggles with his death. She begins writing letters to him in an attempt to make sense of her feelings about her family and her father, who she has always viewed as weak and ineffectual.


In the afterlife, Maurice makes friends with Kit, who knows a lot about the afterlife they are in, but oddly a lot about Andy as well. But they uncover a terrifying plot, and Maurice must decide, for the first time, if he will fight for something even if he risks losing everything.


The Library of Unfinished Business is one of those once-in-a-blue novels that manages to be funny and moving, and it has a real sense of quirky magic about it. At its heart is themes of forgiveness and second chances. It reveals the redemptive power of love, even after death. This is superb storytelling.


Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Cloud Ink Press