People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead
How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It.
by: Gary Leon Hill
An extraordinary exploration of what it means to live and die.
In People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead, Gary Leon Hill tells a family story of how his Uncle Wally and Aunt Ruth, Wally’s sister, came to counsel dead spirits who took up residence in bodies that didn’t belong to them. And in the telling, Hill elucidates much of what we know, or think we know, about life, death, consciousness, and the meaning of the universe.
When people die by accident, in violence, or maybe they’re drunk, stoned, or angry, they get freeze-framed. Even if they die naturally but have no clue what to expect, they might not notice they’re dead. It’s frustrating to see and not be seen. It’s frustrating to not know what you’re supposed to do next. It’s especially frustrating to be in someone else’s body and think it’s your own. That’s if you’re dead. If you’re alive and that spirit has attached itself to you, well that’s a whole other set of frustrations.
Hill has woven this fascinating story with the history and theory of what happens at death, with particular emphasis on the last 40 years and the work of various groundbreaking thinkers whose work helps inform our idea of what it is to live and to die.
Gary Leon Hill is an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced at theaters throughout the country. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, The Rockefeller Foundation, AT&T, and The Pew Charitable Trust. His plays include Food from Trash, Back to the Blanket, Say Grace, In a Beginning, and 8 Bob Off.
A photographer and filmmaker, Hill worked early in his career with Robert Frank and Rudy Wurlitzer on the films Life Dances On and Energy and How to Get It. This is his first book. He lives in New York City.
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