• by Connie Willis
  • Narrated by Dina Pearlman
  • 29 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A tunnel, a light, a door. And beyond it...the unimaginable.
Dr. Joanna Lander is a psychologist specializing in near-death experiences. She is about to get help from a new doctor with the power to give her the chance to get as close to death as anyone can.
A brilliant young neurologist, Dr. Richard Wright has come up with a way to manufacture the near-death experience using a psychoactive drug. Joanna’s first NDE is as fascinating as she imagined — so astounding that she knows she must go back, if only to find out why that place is so hauntingly familiar.
But each time Joanna goes under, her sense of dread begins to grow, because part of her already knows why the experience is so familiar, and why she has every reason to be afraid. Yet just when Joanna thinks she understands, she’s in for the biggest surprise of all — a shattering scenario that will keep you feverishly reading until the final climactic page.


What the Critics Say

“A true heir to John Donne, Kurt Gödel and Preston Sturges, a wit with a common touch who’s read more great books, and makes better use of them in her work, than two or three lit professors put together.” (Newsday)
“Willis has developed an idea that bears all the authority of a genuine insight: disturbingly plausible, compelling, intensely moving, and ultimately uplifting.” (Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review)
“Thoughtful, often fascinating ... Willis makes Lander’s journeys into the afterworld increasingly frightening and compelling." (Chicago Tribune)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

You Can't Get There From Here

During the course of this novel, my attitude shifted from eager interest, to patient progress, to determined resolve, to anguished plodding, to absolute fixation. Ms. Willis has this way of making you feel so comfortable in the worlds she creates that you begin to grow attached to her characters, while putting up with things you know full well are bad decisions or wrong attitudes on their part. And then things happen, that make you terribly invested in the outcome. This was an easier process to endure in the Oxford Time Travel books because of the immediate and understandable hazards at play there, plague, the blitz, the end of time as we know it, etc. It seems to work well in her shorter novels too. Passage suffers, I think, from its generally "normal" setting and hefty length, taking a little too long to get where it needs to go, and in the process making the protagonists seemed by turns close-minded and scatterbrained. Of course, then that moment comes along and the stakes are suddenly different, or are revealed for what they truly are as the case may be, and you're back on board again.

Where the author continues to excel is creating a broad cast of characters that all have their own problems and deal with them in their own ways. I have always enjoyed Ms. Willis's portrayal of people facing adversity, and this book has some great examples of that, both in the discussions of historical disasters, and the everyday troubles of people who find themselves in the employ, or requiring the services, of a hospital. The hospital itself seems to be a character, as many plot points revolve around the inability of anyone to reach anything by taking a logical route. This is played for laughs regularly, and it's surprising how it can still be funny even near the end.

Ms. Pearlman's performance is good, with recognizable characterization and clear narration.

My overall score is based on my complete impression of the book, including my particular fondness for most of Ms. Willis's characters, however much I feel the story may be lacking. I also loved the ending.
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- Aser "I am a blind attorney and aspiring writer, trying to broaden my interests beyond my sci-fi, thriller and history staples."

Entertaining 'what if' novel

Would you listen to Passage again? Why?

I would listen again. Actually I find all of Ms Willis's books that I have read worth the re-reading. This is no exception. I found I cared about the characters and what they were learning and doing. I also found the narrator is a good match for the tone and content of the story.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed the mix of plot tension with character development. Some readers / listeners may complain of "pseudoscience," but I think the point isn't "Gee this might be true," but rather the point is, "I can see these people doing these things in this situation," and I care about them.In another vein, I think this story compares very favorably with "The Brief History of the Dead" by Kevin Brockmeier. If you liked that book, I believe you would like "Passage." If you didn't like "Brief History...", you may like "Passage" nevertheless.

Have you listened to any of Dina Pearlman???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listened to Clementine by Cherry Priest. I guess this compares favorably, because I didn't realize I had heard Dina Pearlman before until I looked at my library to see if she is there. Since I didn't remember her reading of Clementine, that says to me that she is unobtrusive enough as a reader that I wasn't distracted by her reading from the content of the story.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I did laugh at places in "Passage." I didn't actually cry, but there are places in the story that would be suitable for a "bitter sweet" label.

Any additional comments?

Once again, just to say I have enjoyed each Connie Willis book that I have read or listened to. I find "To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last" to be one of the most perfect books I have ever read (or listened to).

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- B0b "starts w/ 'b' ends w/'b' 0 in the middle"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-24-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios