5 reviews

The Reincarnationist
by M. J. Rose

Published: 2007-09-01
Hardcover : 455 pages
27 members reading this now
13 clubs reading this now
8 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 4 of 5 members
A bomb in Rome, a flash of bluish-white light, and photojournalist Josh Ryder's world exploded. From that instant nothing would ever be the same.

As Josh recovers, his mind is increasingly invaded with thoughts that have the emotion, the intensity, the "intimacy" of memories. But they are ...

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A bomb in Rome, a flash of bluish-white light, and photojournalist Josh Ryder's world exploded. From that instant nothing would ever be the same.

As Josh recovers, his mind is increasingly invaded with thoughts that have the emotion, the intensity, the "intimacy" of memories. But they are not his memories. They are ancient--and violent. A battery of medical and psychological tests can't explain Josh's baffling symptoms. And the memories have an urgency he can't ignore--pulling him to save a woman named Sabina--and the treasures she is protecting.

"But who is Sabina?"

Desperate for answers, Josh turns to the world-renowned Phoenix Foundation--a research facility that scientifically documents cases of past life experiences. His findings there lead him to an archaeological dig and to Professor Gabriella Chase, who has discovered an ancient tomb--a tomb with a powerful secret that threatens to merge the past with the present. Here, the dead call out to the living, and murders of the past become murders of the present.

Editorial Review

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"I simply believe that some part of the human self or soul is not subject to the laws of space or time."
-Carl Jung

They will come back, come back again,
As long as the red earth rolls.
He never wasted a leaf or a tree.
Do you think he would squander souls?
-Rudyard Kipling

Rome, Italy - Sixteen Months Ago

Josh Ryder looked through the camera’s viewfinder, focusing on the security guard arguing with a young mother whose hair was dyed so red it looked like she was on fire. The search of the woman’s baby carriage was quickly becoming anything but routine, and Josh moved in closer for his next shot. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

1. Before reading The Reincarnationist, what did you know about pagan religions? Did the book shed any light on early religion for you and make it easier to understand how some superstitions came to be?

2. Josh Ryder is skeptical about reincarnation when this book begins. At what point does he start to believe? Or does he? Did your journey with the concept of reincarnation coincide with Josh’s in any way?

3. Have you ever experienced déjà vu? Is this evidence for reincarnation or just an act of the imagination?

4. Josh is a photojournalist by trade; how does his occupation play to the themes of the novel?

5. What makes reincarnation such an attractive notion to so many people? How do its operations interact with your other belief systems?

6. The Reincarnationist pays a lot of attention to art, in curation and in auction, how did those aspects of the novel enhance the story?

7. In this book, memory stones hold the key to past life regressions. What other tools or circumstances are possible catalysts for such events?

8. It’s rare for a book of fiction to contain a bibliography at the end. What do you think of all the research that’s been accumulated concerning reincarnation? What do you make of the fact that most past-life memories come from young children?

9. Some readers have found the ending of this book very controversial. Not many novels end with a denouement of this kind. However, some say that there could not have been any other ending—what do you think?

10. What do you think the ultimate message of the book is? Is it a positive, hopeful one?

Suggested by Members

Who was Sabina?
by vrtikapa (see profile) 12/03/10

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

A note from MJ to BookMovement members:

When I was three years old, I told my great grandfather things about his childhood in Russia that there was simply no way I could have known.

He became convinced I was a reincarnation of someone in his past. And over time, after more incidents, my mother – a very sane and logical woman -- also came to believe it.

Reincarnation was an idea I grew up with that my mom and I talked about and researched together.

For years, I wanted to write a novel about someone like my mother – who was sane and logical – who started out skeptical but came to believe in reincarnation. To really explore the subject from a literal and metaphorical point of view. But I was afraid if I did people would think I was a “woo woo weirdo”.

I tried to start the book ten years ago after my mother died but I was too close to the subject and missed her too much to be able to explore it objectively. Every once in while the idea would start to pester me again but till I stayed away from it.

Then a few years ago on the exact anniversary of my mom’s death my niece, who was a toddler at the time, said some very cruious things to me about my mother and I – things she really couldn’t have known -- and the pestering became an obsession.

Josh Ryder, the main character has my mom’s initials, her spirit and her curiosity and like her, he’s a photographer. But there the similarities end.

When Josh star starts having flashbacks that simply can’t be explained any other way except as possible reincarnation memories he goes to New York to study with Dr. Malachai Samuels -- a scientist and Reincarnationist who works with children helping them deal with past life memories.

In the process Josh gets caught up in the search for ancient memory tools that may or may not physically enable people to reach back and discover who they were and who they are.

Rather than me tell you anymore about it, let me pass on what a wonderful author, New York Times Bestseller Douglas Preston, says about it:

“The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose has got to be one of the most original and exciting novels I’ve read in a long time, with a premise so delicious I’m sick with envy I didn’t think of it myself. The novel’s exhilarating story sweeps the reader across the centuries, from ancient Rome to the present day, with stops in between. It will open your mind to some of the incredible mysteries of the past and the greatest secrets of existence. The Reincarnationist is more than a page-turner—it’s a page-burner. Don’t miss it.”

The book has garnered stars from both Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal and is a BookeSense pick for September. I think of all my books, this is the one my mom would be the most proud of which is fitting since it’s really the one she inspired.

Book Club Recommendations

The Memorist
by lollygil (see profile) 07/14/09
Another tale of reincarnation by MJ Rose.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "The Reincarnationist"by Deborah M. (see profile) 12/03/10

A disappointing story with an even more disappointing ending. A great idea but poorly developed.

  "Da Vinci Code-esque look at reincarnation"by Andrea V. (see profile) 12/03/10

Not as good as Da Vinci Code, and was disappointed with the ending.

  "Interested topic."by Chary P. (see profile) 10/03/10

I first red The Memorist and i think I enjoyed that more than this one. May be I expect too much from this book due to the fact that is the 1st of the trilogy. Anyway, it was a nice reading and opens many... (read more)

  "Interesting but confusing!"by Jessica J. (see profile) 07/01/10

The theory of reincarnation is interesting, however the mulitple story lines and plots in the book makes story kindof confusing. Overall interesting book.

  "Interesting adventure"by nikki w. (see profile) 06/28/10

It took me a little while to get started on this book. The beginning was a little slow but the more I read the more involved I became in the characters dilemma. The Reincarnationist is full of adventure... (read more)

  "Captivating Read!"by Laura G. (see profile) 07/14/09

I read MJ Rose's The Memorist before I read this book, and found as much as I enjoyed that one, The Reincarnist become my favorite of the two. It's a great read with suspense, romance, mystery and history.... (read more)

  "Rich with detail"by Robbie A. (see profile) 12/26/08

This book is filled with many concepts that one could spend hours discussing. One chapter draws you into the next so it is a very enjoyable read. A great choice for any club.

  "Josh Ryer, after an accident, begins having unsettling memories of two previous lifetimes. His current life falls apart, as he investigates the two previous lifetimes."by Catherine T. (see profile) 06/08/08

I wanted to like The Reincarnationist more than I did, especially with a bibliography that included Jung and Weiss.
This book kept my attention, but the writing was choppy and the character
... (read more)

  "Interesting, thought-provoking, disappointing ending"by Angela S. (see profile) 12/05/07

We had mixed reviews about the book. Most enjoyed reading the book, going back in time, being in Rome, etc., but were disappointed in the ending.

  "Do some homework and this book is an excellent Book Club read."by c p. (see profile) 10/11/07

I liked this book, and I think it makes an excellent book club read, simply because of the history entailed in the story lines. I personally did not know much about Pagan religions, I went online and did... (read more)

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