Dumped, depressed, and bored with his dead-end job, Londoner John Mallory decides to shake up his life. He accepts his journalist brother’s offer to help him on a documentary film investigating a pastor in rural Tennessee who claims he can walk on water. Locals are convinced it’s the Lord’s work. John and his brother, Steve, have their doubts, and hope the film will answer the question: Is it a true miracle—or a giant hoax?
When John arrives in Appalachia, he discovers a few unexpected surprises, including a charming hotel receptionist who catches his eye and the charismatic, deeply religious pastor who coyly dodges the fact-focused investigation. The deeper John becomes immersed in this charming bucolic community that is so different from the harried, cold London he knows, the further conflicted he becomes. At a spiritual crossroads, John must decide what he wants: to force a decent man to prove his faith and return to an empty urban life—or to explore the possibilities this new world of mystery, warmth, and faith-focused life holds?
Jacob Beaver’s beautiful and witty novel challenges the assumptions and certainties of a logic-driven, mainstream urban culture, offering an inviting alternative perspective that is open to mystery and new beginnings.
“Beaver writes well with very vivid descriptions of people, places, and states of mind. Unexpected, strangely satisfying, and great fun!”
— Lisa Alther, author of About Women: Conversations Between a Writer and a Painter and Kinflicks
“The Man Who Walked on Water is a gentle, curious, attentive, and intelligent book. Jacob Beaver sees Southern Appalachia through fresh eyes, and he’s got a wonderfully straightforward approach to the old problem of being a hurt person in a beautiful world. I loved it.”
— James Whorton, author of Frankland
Jacob Beaver was born in Kenya in 1964 and grew up in England. A part of the London publishing world for twenty years, he worked extensively as an editor at the Royal College of Art. In 2007 he married in East Tennessee, where he now lives. His writing has appeared in the London Review of Books and other British publications.
Fifteen years ago, in Mitch Albom’s beloved novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the world fell in love with Eddie, a grizzled war veteran- turned-amusement park mechanic who died saving the life of a young girl named Annie. Eddie’s journey to heaven taught him that every life matters. Now, in this magical sequel, Mitch Albom reveals Annie’s story.
The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie. It took her left hand, which needed to be surgically reattached. Injured, scarred, and unable to remember why, Annie’s life is forever changed by a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the world she knew. Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance as she grows. When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally found happiness.
As the novel opens, Annie is marrying Paulo. But when her wedding night day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey—and an inevitable reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed.
Poignant and beautiful, filled with unexpected twists, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us that not only does every life matter, but that every ending is also a beginning—we only need to open our eyes to see it.