Not everything is what it seems – a tombstone doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a person’s life.
The remarkable short stories included in this book narrate eleven extraordinary cases with the common theme that life challenges death.
So, prepare yourself for the meeting with a Tibetan monk as he contemplates his way out of a Chinese prison, a Mexican mythomaniac’s idea of true beauty, and the secret caller of a Russian Duchess.
You will encounter a ruthless German concentration camp commander, a shipwreck survivor in the Indian Ocean, and a spy novel writer with emerald eyes.
You will be shown how too much luck can become a strikingly sad experience, how the prospect of taxes can be more aggravating than the knowledge of looming death, and that orchestrating your own demise for a new life is a daunting task indeed.
There’s an account of the repeated delays for a man condemned to death because he refuses the humiliation of getting down on his knees yet another time.
Most terrifying of these captivating tales is, perhaps, the unique opportunity to listen in on the cut-up confession of a plastic surgeon after his execution.
Click on the link below to read a sample …
“Death comes in many guises and registers—tragic, comic, ironic—in these mordantly entertaining stories. Ekemar crafts vivid, matter-of-fact yarns about characters confronting, evading, risking, and sometimes welcoming death. A blithe rich man’s fatal attraction to bullfighting unravels his secret lives; a Tibetan monk attempts a do-or-die escape from a Chinese prison; a Swedish businessman told that he has a year to live embarks on a plot to ensure that if death is inevitable at least taxes won’t be; a German officer makes himself the very picture of a competent bureaucrat and loving family man while also running a death camp; a henpecked husband fakes his own death to escape the improvement regimen of his shrewish wife; a lucky lottery ticket brings joy and then grief to a Malaysian farmer; a shipwreck survivor sees his only chance for life in a boat full of corpses; a Russian duchess is courted by a mysterious, handsome figure in black; a condemned man waiting for his lethal injection to kick in looks back on his adventures with the vengeful femme fatale who caused his predicament; and in the collection’s most disturbing tale, a Guatemalan youth viciously abused by society vents his rage on an even more innocent victim. Ekemar’s tales are vigorously plotted genre pieces, full of engrossing procedural on prison breaks, bank fraud, mass extermination, and improvised shark fishing, along with colorful characters caught in improbable circumstances and deadpan wit. They also manage to invest sometimes-lurid scenarios with psychological depth and social nuance, whether set in a placid Swiss suburb or a fetid jungle narcotics depot. Despite their lugubrious theme, these are lively stories told with considerable style and verve. A collection of engrossing dances with death that highlights the vanity and poignancy of life.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Graveyard Grapevine by Kim Ekemar is a collection of eleven short stories all presenting unique perspectives on the most mysterious, sobering, terrifying, and universal subject: death. Each story addresses this topic from a different situation. Settings are often in diverse countries, and characters represent many separate walks of life. There are Malaysian rice farmers, Swiss bankers, Swedish businessmen, Tibetan monks, Nazi commanders, and Russian nobility, among others. Since death is universal, the stories also span the globe.
“Each of these short stories also communicates a very unique concept. Death plays a variety of roles in the narratives. It isn't always the enemy or even always the end of the story. It can be seduction, relief, defeat, karma, freedom, failure, victory, or routine. Sometimes death is to be feared and dreaded, and sometimes there are much more terrifying prospects in life from which death is an escape. Just as in the real world life and death are unique to the individual, so also in these stories the individual meets death in a unique way.
“I found these stories artfully done. As a general rule, I tend to shy away from the gruesome and the horrific, but the stories in this collection weren't excessively macabre or graphic. There were certainly parts that were emotionally difficult to read, but the whole was tasteful. I wouldn't call this book suitable for children, but Graveyard Grapevine falls firmly in an "other fiction" genre rather than "thriller" or "horror". I found the stories thought-provoking rather than flinch-inducing.
“I am always thrilled when I can rate a book 4 out of 4 stars. Kim Ekemar's Graveyard Grapevine collection was a powerful and fascinating read. After I had finished the book, I tried to think back and pick a favorite story, but they were all so different and so well written that I couldn't decide on the best. I would recommend this book to any mature reader. Every person can relate in some way to this book, and I think everyone benefits by taking a little time to think soberly about a tough topic. If you are looking for a serious read that will inspire your thoughts and help you appreciate the struggles and hardships of individuals across time and space, Graveyard Grapevine might be exactly the book you need.” – OnlineBookClub Reviews