1919, somewhere in the USA.
The Great War has just ended and the world mourns its dead. Many search for solace in self-proclaimed mediums and alternative sciences like spiritualism, hoping to reconnect with their loved ones. One scientist who is determined to prove the existence of the paranormal is Professor Thomas Bradford, a charismatic and well-known scientist on a mission.
Ruth Doran has recently become a widow after a loveless marriage and now finds herself in need of an income to support herself and her three adolescent children. Once a promising mathematician, convention made her marry young and abandon academia. When Ruth stumbles across an ad in the newspaper: “Assistant wanted for spiritualist research project”, she instantly responds. And thus opens a door for the chance at a new life.
Despite cynical questioning from peers who find Thomas’s research ridiculous as well as the objections from his jealous wife, Thomas and Ruth embark on a journey to establish contact with the other side – and soon become inseparable. At first, their relationship is only professional, but Ruth’s feelings for Thomas grow and through her we experience the act of falling in love, the kind of love that is all-consuming, intoxicating, and painful. When Thomas’s young daughter dies, his optimistic curiosity turns into pure desperation to be reunited with her – and his experiments cross a treacherous line. Because how can you prove the existence of the spirit realm without going there yourself?
Ruth is also becoming desperate. On one hand, she is watching her beloved unravel. On the other, his state of distress has finally granted her the closeness to him she has so long desired. Ruth needs to pull the brakes on the dangerous experiments in the lab, but she can’t. She begins to wonder if she has lost him already – and is their love really as pure as she would like to believe? When Thomas one day disappears without a trace, Ruth Doran becomes the primary suspect…
At once an ingeniously structured and breathless love story pulsating with passion and an intelligent mystery demanding to be spliced together piece by piece, One More Life explores the most universal and ungraspable themes we must all face: love and death.
“It is written with the kind of lightly humorous distance that the wording suggests, by an author who holds the strings, pulls them gently, and watches the characters squirm – all the time in full control and with a kindly indulgence of their wriggling attempts to take their lives into their own hands […]. Along the way, Avdic can deliver lessons in the early 20th century spiritualist movement and its close intertwining with the technological innovations that dominated the era, fascinating facts about the importance of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison to it, for example. She’s also able to add saltiness and coolness to Ruth’s version of what happens during the two years when she and Bradford work together, become lovers and move further and further away from the norm in their research. This makes One More Life a dancingly easy read, although the sequence of events in which Thomas Bradford, after the death of his young daughter, becomes obsessed with reaching the spirits and is prepared to put himself in any danger, leads straight into darkness. […] It is a captivating read with a crawlingly eerie resolution, skillfully evoked by Åsa Avdic’s balancing act between closeness and distance.”
–Svenska Dagbladet (SE)