October 19, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Mary Roach proved her fine sense of humor in 2003’s strangely amusing and uncreepy Stiff, her affectionate look at human cadavers. In Spook, she delves back into death, searching everywhere and anywhere for scientific proof of an afterlife. She heads to rural India to interview reincarnation subjects, handles a piece of alleged ectoplasm at Cambridge University’s library, and enrolls in an English school for mediums. Along the way, she asks all the familiar questions that plague the death-obsessed: ”What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that’s that…? Or will some part of my…me-ness persist?… What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my laptop?” Alas, she doesn’t find the answers. But Roach is such a smart and breezy companion that it’s enough to watch her realize that in the end she might not need them.

Spook

author
Mary Roach
publisher
W.W. Norton
Complete Coverage
Spook

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