Rules for Being Dead

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Product Details
$25.95  $24.13
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.6 X 1.2 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author
Kim 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's haunting and spellbinding novel Rules for Being Dead reads like an intoxicating blend of the best of Shirley Jackson, Alice Sebold and Fannie Flagg. But Powers has created an original novel that is both a tender coming-of-age tale and a fascinating mystery that builds to a nail-biting climax. (...) With a deceptively subtle, breezy writing style, Powers pulls readers into his tasty and tantalizing mixture of empathetic characters, Southern gothic coming-of-age comedy, mystery and magical realism." --STARRED REVIEW, Shelf Awareness

"Blending late-'60s nostalgia with a supernatural mystery, Powers's emotionally complex tale gets the job done just right." --Publishers Weekly

"Well drawn and superbly authentic" --Michael Graves, Lambda Literary

"Every season or so, there's a book that comes seemingly out of the blue and manages to knock our socks off. Rules for Being Dead is that book for the summer of 2020. Honestly this should not have come as a surprise. Kim has written several other excellent books, both fiction and nonfiction, and is a senior writer for ABC News' 20/20, so there's little doubt that he knows his way around a story. But what makes Rules for Being Dead so powerful is the blend of genres: it's a mystery, it's a coming-of-age story, it's a literary work, as well as the very tone is a mixture of funny and bittersweet. It's nostalgic, it tugs at your heartstrings, and it's a celebration of vintage movies....If you threw The Lovely Bones, Cinema Paradiso, and Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story into a blender and mixed them all up, you'd end up with something that looks a little bit like Rules for Being Dead, but even that doesn't fully express the bounty of treasures within this book. I certainly hope that this is the little book that everyone's talking about this season." --Kristopher Zgorski, Bolo Books

"Rules for Being Dead is culturally rich and compelling ... a poignant glimpse into a family dynamic that is less than ideal and becomes even murkier and more ambiguous when death throws everything and everyone into a maelstrom of accusations, physical misdeeds, accidents, rejection, and the frantic pursuit to piece a broken family together with promises, hope, enlightenment, and acceptance." --Lone Star Literary

"In a story that's both cagey and unfailingly entertaining, Powers explores life's deepest questions and most profound mysteries. Only a writer this in touch with his own humanity could populate a novel with characters who, despite their flaws, failures, and eccentricities, are humane and good." --Wally Lamb, author of I Know This Much Is True

"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