"So it’s the near future, or maybe it’s even now, and a blind study is going on that’s testing our ability to be literally born again. Four subjects are on death’s door, but with this experimental process, their bodies are cloned and aged to their present age, and then the part of their brain with memories are implanted in the new host. Of course these new shells are missing details that are due to natural use, such as tattoos, muscle strength, or even freckles. But the real fun begins when each has to wrestle with the complications of starting life over; the truth is that a fresh start doesn’t undo their messy lives and bad habits are often hard to break. I found And Again surprisingly engaging and thought provoking for a book that first seemed outside my comfort zone."— Daniel Goldin
"How much of a role does your body play in determining who you are? Do memories live in your skin and your nerves or just in your brain? These are the questions raised in this excellent debut novel by Jessica Chiarella. Four people with terminal illnesses are chosen for a secret and experimental procedure in which their brains and memories are transplanted into healthy bodies. Hannah is an artist with cancer, David, a congressman with a brain tumor. Connie, an actress with AIDS, and Linda, a wife and mother who has been paralyzed after a car accident. The new bodies are not only without disease, they are perfect, completely without freckles, wrinkles, tattoos, or scars. It sounds like a miracle, but all types of change require an adjustment, and all of the patients find that the transplant may not be the dream come true that they signed up for."— Sharon K. Nagel
January 2016 Indie Next List
“This intriguing novel explores the age-old body/soul relationship from a fresh angle by introducing us to four participants in a pilot program that gives terminally ill patients new, genetically perfect bodies. Will these four -- a beautiful actress, a womanizing congressman, a talented artist, and a beloved mother -- simply resume their lives as they were before disease or accident struck? Or will they make new starts, make different choices? Can their new bodies incorporate what they have learned in the past? A fascinating literary debut.”
— Ellen Sandmeyer (M), Sandmeyer's Bookstore, Chicago, IL
What would you do if you had a second chance at life?
Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda have been given the second chance of a lifetime--genetically perfect bodies as part of a medically advanced pilot program seeking FDA approval. Their new bodies are exact replicas of their old selves--without the deadly illnesses they suffered from. Even better, their imperfections have been erased. Blemishes, scars, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their bodies are pristine, their vision is impeccable.
Yet the fresh start they've been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have no memories. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her.
As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships, they are faced with the question: how much of who you are rests not just in your mind, but in your heart and your body? In the spirit of Never Let Me Go and The Age of Miracles, And Again is an exciting debut about identity, second chances, and the courage to start life afresh.