Fiction Without Frontiers
A quick look at Cacek’s latest book could possibly deem it a horror story. [Especially if you like to judge a book by its cover. BookBitch.] It deals with possession by the essence of a person now dead of the body of another person in the process of passing away. Certainly one of the major themes of literature devoted to horror stories. This is very far from the reality of what is a fascinating book actually devoted to a brilliant treatment of human nature under great stress.
The beginning section covers the deaths of four people of different ages and in different years. There is a potential suffragette attending a meeting in the early part of the twentieth century and killed by a man completely opposed to the concept of women’s rights. Another is a little boy, with another a 16 year old girl. The final individual is a man dying from the effects of dementia.
The next phase of the novel involves those individuals in the process of dying that are possessed by the spirits of the first four. A doctor views the people being “resurrected” by the new life process coincidentally in the same hospital and about the same time. He indicates to the families of those expected to pass away that this situation has occurred before although not very a very common one. It is in this stage of the book that Cacek turns an interesting novel into one that becomes a fascinating study of human nature.
First, how do the previously dead persons react to finding themselves not only alive again, but in a different body than they had. Also, the reactions of the families of those expected to die when finding that their loved one is recovering, but is not the same person that had been brought to the hospital with the expectation of imminent death. And if their relationship is still the same or if previously families, if found have those rights.
The author has successfully written a powerful study of what could happen to all concerned if the postulated situation could ever happen. Human nature is of course, based on normal progression and ending of life at a certain point with no further contact with the decadent. There is no speculation of what happens normally after death as this is not germane to the described events. Very well done.
4/19 Paul Lane
SECOND LIVES by P. D. Cacek. FLAME TREE PRESS; New edition (April 11, 2019). ISBN 978-1787581593. 304p.