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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Zevin, Gabrielle: Elsewhere

  Amazon  

3.5 stars

Gabrielle Zevin's YA novel Elsewhere conjures up an interesting answer to the question of what happens to us after death. Elsewhere exists alongside but apart from Earth. Death itself turns out to be much like life--rather boringly so, in fact--the singular exception being that the dead age backwards, regressing from the age they were at death to infancy and, finally, rebirth. This makes things interesting logistically, as a dead person's "real" and physical ages don't correspond, and the relative ages between people who knew one another in life are more often than not altered significantly. Also strange is the body's backward development: tattoos eventually disappear and bald heads sprout hair; people who've been gumming food for decades teethe.

The protagonist of Elsewhere is Elizabeth Hall, who is killed in a hit-and-run accident at the age of 15. The book follows her death from her initial difficulties accepting the truth through her embrace of life in Elsewhere. I found the book clunky in parts: A couple things Lizzie does--but which I won't reveal--don't seem realistic, and none of the characters jumps off the page as particularly appealing or true to life. The idea of talking dogs also left me cold. (In Elsewhere, communication with dogs is an easy matter of picking up a new language, Canine.) Presumably this is meant to appeal to readers, but dogs would lose much of their charm if they could betray our confidences or comment on our ability as providers. They'd just be stupid humans with fur.

In short, Elsewhere is not a great book, but the author's conception of an afterlife is an interesting one, and young readers may be intrigued by the logistics of reverse aging.

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