Surprisingly readable for a looong book where nothing much happens.
Aliens have come to Earth and this time, instead of wrecking havoc on Los Angeles or New York, they come bearing a gift. Immortality. For reasons that are never really explained, the Kethani have granted humankind immortality in the form of a implant on the forehead. When a person dies, the implant provides the means by which the person will be reborn, younger, stronger and bestowed with a kind of zen-like peace.
The story centers on a group of pub goers in a small town in England. This is really a collection of stories, originally published individually in various SF magazines, and compiled into a novel. In each story, we see the character grappling with the consequences of immortality.
The problem is that despite the big concept--"How would the gift of immortality change mankind?"--the narrative is fairly superficial and leaves more questions unanswered than answered.
The novel's strength is primarily the likable, engaging characters, who, in the absence of a plot, kept me turning the pages.