The Brief History of the Dead is a highly original novel that alternates between chapters about a female wildlife specialist in Antarctica who may be the last person alive on the planet following a viral pandemic and chapters featuring a city where the dead continue to live as long as someone on Earth remembers them.
The book's author Kevin Brockmeier is a very gifted writer and his skill is evident throughout the narrative. The conceit of the necropolis, though, doesn't hold up through the length of the text, and as the link between the two storylines becomes clear, the plot drags toward its inevitable terminus.
I also struggled a bit with the book's apocalyptic setup of a virus that kills everyone on the planet. Even assuming the most virulent strain of a mutagenic virus, it seems incredibly unlikely that a virus would kill off an entire host population. Perhaps if Brockmeier had offered up explanations as to why the virus didn't mutate into less virulent forms or why no one was immune, this questionable plot construct wouldn't have stood out so much.
Despite these points, it's worth repeating how inventive and well-written The Brief History of the Dead is. I look forward to reading more from Kevin Brockmeier in the future.