An ordinary family man, geologist, and Mormon, Soren Johansson has always believed he’ll be reunited with his loved ones after death in an eternal hereafter. Then, he dies. Soren wakes to find himself cast by a God he has never heard of into a Hell whose dimensions he can barely grasp: a vast library he can only escape from by finding the book that contains the story of his life. [From Goodreads]
Note: This was a review copy provided by the author.
Books on religion don’t usually interest me but the description of the book caught my attention. The story is about Soren Johansson and his journey through hell. A rather friendly demon explains that there are many versions of hell. Soren happens to end up in a Luis Borges inspired library of infinite volumes. So, to escape hell, Soren must find the book which contains the story of his life.
Peck’s concise writing pulled me into the story immediately. The curious imagining of hell along with Soren’s musings is quite entertaining. But more than that, the book provoked questions in my own mind about living life and what may come after death.
One quick warning though, if you are easily offended by fictional writing (i.e. – sensitive about your religion) your feathers may get a bit ruffled. It might help to read A Short Stay In Hell with an open mind while reminding yourself that it’s fiction.
A Short Stay In Hell is one of the finest short stories I’ve read.