Review: The Postmortal by Drew Magary

The Postmortal by Drew Magary
Publisher: Penguin
Source: From publisher for review
Release date: August 30th, 2011

John Farrell is about to get “The Cure.”
Old age can never kill him now.
The only problem is, everything else still can . . .
Imagine a near future where a cure for aging is discovered and-after much political and moral debate-made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems-including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult, and other horrors. Witty, eerie, and full of humanity, The Postmortal is an unforgettable thriller that envisions a pre-apocalyptic world so real that it is completely terrifying.

The Postmortal is told from John Farrell’s POV, from 60 years of collected text files that were recovered in 2093. John, a divorce lawyer, decides, after much though, that he’s going to get “The Cure.” The cure in question is the cure for aging, oddly discovered while trying to isolate the gene for hair color during a rather frivolous experiment by a scientist at the U. of Oregon. The problem is that the cure has been banned by the president, so he’s forced to seek it out via the black market. It’s successful, and $7,000 later, John is 29 forever.

John is somewhat charming, a bit arrogant, and more than a little immature, but as the book goes on, events will occur that have the effect of knocking the arrogance right out of him, and then some. A tragedy involving the cure and his roommate is the first sign that things may not always sunshine and roses, and as John lives a life of aimless passivity, events begin unfolding in John’s life, and around the world, that threaten the false patina of happiness that’s settled over this privileged generation. The president finally legalizes the cure, and a “cure” trip to Vegas for a friend only serves to highlight the excesses that are being thrown about so freely now that people feel that they have many more lifetimes ahead of them. Meanwhile, in places like China, babies are being branded at birth with their true birthdays and pro-death terrorists are wreaking havoc on the streets. Remember, the only thing the cure actually “cures” is aging. Anything else is fair game: disease, accidents, murder…you get the idea. With The Postmortal, the hits just keep on coming, and the emotional roller coaster it took me on was pretty brutal at times. This novel will make you think about what you have, how precious life is, and how easily it can slip away. The horrifying implications of The Cure unfold relentlessly, and John will begin to question everything he’s ever believed in.

The Postmortal covers 60 years (with a 30 year break), and is told in very short chapters (in John’s voice), and also media excerpts, which I loved, and which also provided some of the most disturbing material in the book. At turns profoundly sad, humorous, and terrifying, The Postmortal will move you to examine what it means to be human and keep you turning pages until the explosive end.



  1. Never heard of this one but it sounds interesting! Strangely enough when I saw the cover I though it would be a funny book. Guess not xP

    • There is some humor, but it’s of the dark variety. Definitely not a fun situation all around…

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