Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Literary Fiction
Approximate word count: 105-110,000 words
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: YES
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Harry Ramble lives with his wife and two children in New Jersey. He has one other novel, Sex Offender Lives Here. For more, visit Harry’s website.
Nathan Huffnagle is turning forty-five and decides to give himself a birthday present. A final gift. He’s going to kill Randy Trent, his childhood nemesis, the person who, through his actions in high school, set Nathan up for failure in his future life. Then Nathan is going to kill himself.
Weeks later Nathan wakes up in the hospital, still alive. Visitors who appear to be angels tell him he can’t die until he completes some assignments. The End is Near is the alternating entries from two of Nathan’s “journals”; the first, essentially a long suicide note, the second, his current journal, documenting the assignments from the angels.
There are two kinds of books in the world: those that entertain, and those that teach you something.
Okay, I lied, although I daresay many people believe this. A constant theme that keeps popping up in my reviews is that books intended to entertain can also teach us something – if we let them. Depending on the book, we might learn about history, science, politics, geography, or many other subjects, but most often it is about the human condition, whether helping us better understand ourselves or others.
Calling a book like this entertaining seems wrong. On the surface, it is serious, grappling with questions of life and death. Yet it is still entertaining. There is the suspense of how and why Nathan concluded that death was preferable to life. There is the mystery of how the book will end. Humor, often dark humor, is scattered throughout the book.
However, you can’t read the description of this book without reasonably concluding that if there are only two kinds of books, this must be one that teaches you something. It does. Although I hope none of you are contemplating murder or suicide, I daresay Nathan’s fictional experiences are best suited to teach you about yourself. Most of Nathan’s many faults are those we all have, just not to the extremes that he does. When you’re done reading The End is Near, hold up the mirror and see if you can’t learn something about personal responsibility and judging others, to name just two.
No significant errors
Rating: **** Four stars