One of those rare, unforgettable novels that are as chilling as they are insightful, as thought-provoking as they are terrifying, award-winning author Connie Willis's Passage is an astonishing blend of relentless suspense and cutting-edge science unlike anything you've ever read before.
It is the electrifying story of a psychologist who has devoted her life to tracking death. But when she volunteers for a research project that simulates the near-death experience, she will either solve life's greatest mystery -- or fall victim to its greatest terror.
At Mercy General Hospital, Dr. Joanna Lander will soon be paged -- not to save a life, but to interview a patient just back from the dead. A psychologist specializing in near-death experiences, Joanna has spent two years recording the experiences of those who have been declared clinically dead and lived to tell about it.
It's research on the fringes of ordinary science, but Joanna is about to get a boost from an unexpected quarter. A new doctor has arrived at Mercy General, one with the power to give Joanna 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. Dr. Wright is convinced that the NDE is a survival mechanism and that if only doctors understood how it worked, they could someday delay the dying process, or maybe even reverse it. He can use the expertise of a psychologist of Joanna Lander's standing to lend credibility to his study.
But he soon needs Joanna for more than just her reputation. When his key volunteer suddenly drops out of the study, Joanna finds herself offering to become Richard's next subject. After all, who better than she, a trained psychologist, to document the experience?
Her first NDE is as fascinating as she imagined it would be -- so astounding that she knows she must go back, if only to find out why this 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....
And just when you think you know where she is going, Willis throws in the biggest surprise of all -- a shattering scenario that will keep you feverishly reading until the final climactic page is turned.
Random House Publishing Group; December 2009
- ISBN: 9780307573728
- Read online, or download in secure ePub format
- Title: Passage
- Author: Connie Willis
In The Press
“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.”
“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
Also by Connie Willis:
To Say Nothing of the Dog
Miracle and Other Christmas Stories
Available wherever Bantam Books are sold
About The Author
Connie Willis has won major awards for her novels and short stories. Her first short-story collection, Fire Watch, was a New York Times Notable Book. Her other works include Doomsday Book, Lincoln's Dreams, Bellwether, Impossible Things, Remake, Uncharted Territory, To Say Nothing of the Dog, and Miracle and Other Christmas Stories. Ms. Willis lives in Greeley, Colorado, with her family.