A DARKLY COMIC INQUIRY INTO HOW TO FAKE YOUR OWN DEATH, THE DISAPPEARANCE INDUSTRY, AND THE LENGTHS TO WHICH PEOPLE WILL GO TO BE REBORN.

 

"Ms. Greenwood leaps into an anecdote-filled history of — and rough primer for — erasing yourself. She shrewdly notes that our fascination with vanishing is only heightened by the ‘hypervisibility of our age.’… The fun in Greenwood’s book — much of it admittedly grim fun — is in learning the details."

New York Times


"A bizarre exposé of the disappearance industry."

Entertainment Weekly


"Ms. Greenwood takes us on a romp through the world of the living dead not zombies, but real folk who decide the best way to go on with life is to fake death. It’s a delightful read, and for anyone tantalized by the prospect of disappearing without a trace it might even provide some useful tips though Greenwood is careful to caution that 'pseudocide' is rarely painless."

ERIK LARSON, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake


"Exuberant and ironic, witty and compassionate, various and keenly-focused, Playing Dead is eccentric investigative journalism. A terrific subject, where the deadly (excuse the pun) serious and absurdly comic meet and mesh."

MARGO JEFFERSON, author of Negroland


"Playing Dead marks the debut of a very talented author. Both the book and the writer are cause for celebration."

JEFF GUINN, New York Times bestselling author of Manson


"A curious quest to find out just how feasible it is to disappear in the information age. Greenwood takes readers on a strange journey as she navigates the mysteries of disappearance… An entertaining investigation."

Publishers Weekly


"Wildly entertaining"

Tony Perrottet, author of Napoleon's Privates


"Faking your own death is, in many ways, the greatest con of all  and Elizabeth Greenwood pulls it off with flair in this beguiling foray into the wacky yet somehow ever-fascinating realm of death fraud."

MARIA KONNIKOVA, New York Times bestselling author of The Confidence Game

"Mesmerizing."

Elle


"Greenwood's book is... catnip."

The Guardian


"Ghoulishly existential."

BloombergBusinessweek


"From digging up suspect graves to buying her own death certificate, Greenwood investigates the work of death fraud with probing comedic wit, and ultimately delivers a reflection on the efficacy of escaping ourselves."

DuJour


"A tragicomic study."

BUST


"Greenwood's narrative voice is humble and approachable, but as an investigator she is tenacious, going the distance--to death and back--to bring this oddly fascinating story to her readers. Playing Dead will please those attracted to the eccentric, as well as anyone who has ever fantasized about leaving it all behind." 

Shelf Awareness


"Elizabeth Greenwood is as entertaining and gifted an archeologist of subcultures as she is an able explorer of issues like anonymity, the right to privacy, and how much control people can ever exert over their identities. An energetic and insatiable writer, her generous mind infuses every page of this astonishing book." 

HEIDI JULAVITS, author of The Folded Clock


"Quirky, engaging, and surprisingly uplifting... Elizabeth Greenwood has written a book about death, faked and real, that teaches us much about life."

ERIC WEINER, New York Times bestselling author of The Geography of Genius


"Entertaining and enlightening."

Booklist