Opening Heaven’s Door, Patricia Pearson

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pearson_patriciaPatricia Pearson is an award-winning journalist and novelist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, Huffington Post and Buisnessweek, among other publications. Known for upending conventional wisdom, Pearson questioned our simplistic understanding of violent women in her first book, When She Was Bad, which won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Non-Fiction Crime Book of 1997. She was a finalist for the Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour for her novel, Playing House. Her recent book, A Brief History of Anxiety (Yours and Mine), challenges the notion that mood disorders are purely brain-based with no relation to culture and personal circumstance. For more information visit,

Science may be unable to “prove” that there is life (or something else) after death, but countless people continue to experience these unexplained coincidences when a loved one dies, while others experience such visions while they are dying themselves. Prompted by her family’s surprising, profound experiences around the deaths of her father and her sister, the hyper-rational Pearson sets out on an open-minded inquiry and discovers that roughly half of bereaved persons—as well as nurses, hospice workers, soldiers, and others who constantly observe the dying—have had uncanny, transcendent experiences. These intimations of enduring bonds can radically help people process their grief and their fear. Her new book, Opening Heaven’s Door recounts deeply affecting stories of messages from the dying and the dead in a fascinating work of investigative journalism, pointing to new scientific explanations that give these luminous moments the importance felt by those who experience them.

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