Rules for Being Dead
It's the late 1960s in McKinney, Texas. At the downtown theater and the local drive-in, movies--James Bond, My Fair Lady, Alfie, and Dr. Zhivago--feed the dreams and obsessions of a ten-year-old Clarke who loves Audrey, Elvis, his family, and the handsome boy in the projector booth. Then Clarke loses his beloved mother, and no one will tell him how she died. No one will tell her either. She is floating above the trees and movie screens of McKinney, trapped between life and death, searching for a glimpse of her final moments on this earth. Clarke must find the shattering truth, which haunts this darkly humorous and incredibly moving novel.
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About the AuthorKim Powers is a two-time Emmy winner and author of the novels Capote in Kansas and Dig Two Graves, as well as the memoir The History of Swimming, a Barnes & Noble Discover Award winner and Lambda Literary Award finalist for Best Memoir of the Year. He also wrote the screenplay for the festival-favorite indie film Finding North and the new play Sidekicked, a "one broad comedy" about Vivian Vance. Powers is the Senior Writer for ABC's 20/20, part of the team that has received three consecutive Edward R. Murrow Awards. A native Texan, he received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. In 2007, he was selected by Out Magazine for the influential "Out 100" list. He lives in Manhattan and Asbury Park, NJ.
"Kim Powers writes a glorious novel about a boy and his journey to feel whole after the mysterious death of his mother. Mr. Powers' prose is artful and searing as Clarke's story unfolds in a Texas town so vivid, the reader is there. Secrets are revealed, hope is lost and found, and redemption awaits in this beautifully rendered tale about love and loss, and the courage to face the truth with an open heart." --Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of Tony's Wife
"A tour de force in voice and structure, this uniquely heartbreaking novel--literary fiction meets boy detective--is somehow adorable and sinister at the same time. The brilliantly talented Kim Powers has created a poignant and remarkable story." --Hank Phillippi Ryan, award-winning author of The Murder List
"Rules for Being Dead is a rich and compelling novel about a mother and her sons that is filled with nostalgia, heartbreak, and a love that will never die. Kim Powers has created an unforgettable story about discovering the world through movies, engaging with the tougher realities of life, and learning to forgive the people around us and ourselves." --Will Schwalbe, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Your Life Book Club and Books for Living
"It's time well spent with the Perkins family, though the father should be locked up, one son should be disarmed, and the mother who might fix everything can't--because unfortunately she's a ghost. Unorthodox, quirky, funny and heartbreaking, Powers' love letter to difficult families (and 1960s film classics!) is a blast." --Wilton Barnhardt, best-selling author of Lookaway, Lookaway
"We all know a few rules about being alive but who knew that the afterlife could command equal attention. Kim Powers' Rules for Being Dead caught me by surprise with its intrigue, wit, and nostalgia. His incredibly moving novel takes you back home―no matter where, or when, you grew up. It reminds us that mothers and fathers can never be as perfect as we want them to be, and that childhood secrets can still haunt into adulthood. Get ready to be captivated by a lonely boy who's lost in the world of '60s movies and true crime and employs both of them to try to solve the ultimate mystery: what caused his mother's mysterious death? And one more thing? Despite its title, this book is about learning how to live, with every breath you take." ―Deborah Roberts, ABC News Correspondent
"Tenderhearted and touching, Rules for Being Dead is imbued with the imagination and emotion of such beloved books as The Lovely Bones and Ellen Foster. The narrative is laced with nostalgic references (from Elvis movies to mentions of Don Knotts and TV shows like Family Affair) that bring to life a forgotten time. All these elements come together to create a vibrant backdrop to the story of one family's unexpected loss and journey toward healing." ―John Searles, bestselling author of Help for the Haunted and Strange But True
"Rules for Being Dead offers a startlingly original perspective on misapprehension, forgiveness, and love and delivers its vision with a punch. I picked up the book and could not put it down." --Elaine Neil Orr, author of Swimming Between Worlds