Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune, Kirt Graves (Narrator)

Published September 21st 2021 by Macmillan Audio, Tor Books

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life. When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune’s signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy.

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5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I did a read/listen with this wonderful story and have been thinking about it since I finished. I know my review will not do this book justice. First I want to say that as a Christian I was a bit worried about this depiction of life after death, but it was not the case. This was a beautiful story that had me near tears several times. Wallace Price is not a very nice man. He has dropped dead of a heart attack at the age of forty, and he is not willing to accept that his life is over. His funeral is a sad affair with only four colleagues, an ex-wife and a strange woman in attendance. It turns out that this woman is a reaper, Mei, and is there to take him to a waystation between Life and Death, a quaint tea-shop run by the Ferryman Hugo. He also meets Hugo’s dead grandfather and Hugo’s dog. That is all I am going to say about the plot of this story, as you must experience it for yourself.

As the blurb says, Wallace wants to live a life that he never had, but only has a week to do it. With only a few souls around he learns what he has missed, what real emotion feels like and what his life could have been. The secondary characters are amazing, they answer Wallace’s questions when they can, but it is his journey and they do not interfere. I am glad I was on this journey. T.J. Klune had me near tears at some points and laughing at others. We see how people can be so different from one another, yet still learn from them and know that they will influence out lives. This is a book I recommend to anyone and everyone. It is a beautiful, heartfelt story that will leave you thinking about life. I enjoyed the narration of this book performed by Kirt Graves. Mr. Graves has a rich tone and uses that to pull you into the story. He uses his pacing and expression to add interest and I sat back and enjoyed his reading. He doesn’t go voices, per se, but I was able to differentiate who was speaking by the tone he used. I will definitely add Kirt Graves to my list of narrators to watch for. Thank-you to the publishers for granting my request for this book. The ideas and opinions are my own.

T.J. Klune

About the Author:

TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include the Green Creek series, The House on the Cerulean Sea and The Exraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories.

Tj can be reached at tjklunebooks@yahoo.com.