Graham, Randal

  • It’s okay if you don’t believe in the afterlife. The people who live there don’t believe in you, either.

    What if you went to heaven and no one there believed in Earth? This is the question at the heart of Beforelife, a satirical novel that follows the post-mortem adventures of widower Ian Brown, a man who dies on the book’s first page and finds himself in an afterlife where no one else believes in “pre-incarnation.” The other residents of the afterlife have mysteriously forgotten their pre-mortem lives and think that anyone who remembers a mortal life is suffering from a mental disorder called the “Beforelife Delusion.”

    None of that really matters to Ian. All he wants to do is reunite with Penelope, his wife. Scouring the afterlife for any sign of her, Ian accidentally winds up on a quest to prove that the beforelife is real. This puts him squarely into the crosshairs of some of history’s greatest heroes and villains, all of whom seem unhealthily obsessed with erasing Ian’s memories and preventing him from reminding anyone of their pre-mortem lives. Only by staying a step ahead of his enemies can Ian hope to keep his much-needed marbles, find Penelope, and restore the public’s memories of the beforelife.


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  • Randal Graham is a law professor at Western University. He lives in London, Ontario, with his wife and their Himalayan kitty.

  • Published: September 2017

    ISBN: 9781770413177

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 536

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“Debut novelist and law professor Graham has hit upon a clever and fruitful concept.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Written in an easy prose, this gloriously imaginative satire takes readers on a trip to the other side . . . A rollicking romp through the metaphysics of irreverence.” — Scene Magazine

“Finally, a hitchhiker’s guide to the hereafter. Making a debut as stellar as it is hilarious, Randal Graham proves himself a true Canuckian heir to the magnificently pun-happy merriment of literary pranksters Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Jasper Fforde. At once a raucous comedy, thrilling adventure, and meta-commentary on the nature of storytelling, Beforelife is an afterlife to die for.” — Corey Redekop, author of Husk

“On one level it is sheer entertainment, and can be enjoyed entirely on that level as a kind of elaborate comic verbal playground. But for those attentive readers who share, with Graham, an interest in the central questions addressed by economics, a further reward awaits. When such readers have finished the book, they will come to realize that, beneath the (considerable) laughter, they have been treated to an illuminating meditation on the first principles of economic reasoning, and, by implication, an explication of the unstated (ostensibly self-evident) assumptions that underlie the models used by economists to provide simplified tractable near-versions of complex real-world phenomena.” — Canadian Business Law Journal