Title: A Short Stay In Hell
Author: Steven L. Peck
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Strange Violin Editions
Release Date: March, 2012
Acquired: Amazon Purchase
Date Finished: November 20, 2014
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.
In this haunting existential novella, author, philosopher, and ecologist Steven L. Peck explores a subversive vision of eternity, taking the reader on a journey through the afterlife of a world where everything everyone believed in turns out to be wrong.
I consider myself a fair reader. I try to always see the good and the bad in books because I want my readers to get a fair analysis. Now, with that being said, I know there is really no such thing as an unbiased review because we all see things through our own filters. But, I digress. I said all of that to say this…I truly did not like this book. It was actually the most boring book I have read in a really long time, maybe ever. Thank goodness is was “a short stay” or it would have been a DNF for me. I could not have endured it any longer.
The initial introduction to the plot was interesting. It turned all expectations of hell upside down. In the opening lines a Christian faces a demon demanding that there has been a mistake, the demon reveals that the only true religion is Zoroastrianism and that there are only a few thousand of them in the world, so there has been no mistake. From there on, the main character, Soren, who happens to be a Mormon, is thrown into a giant library. When I say giant, I mean there is no end to it. It goes on infinitely. He is told that when he finds his own life story written in one of the books, he will be able to leave hell and go on to heaven. So, the search begins. That’s it. It chronicles Soren’s time in hell looking for his story. The interesting part is that he spends very little time looking for his story. It is more about his interactions with other people in hell and dealing with the depression of being in hell.
Overall, it was exhausting. At the 50 page mark I was looking to see how much more was left. The interesting thing is that it has over a 4 star rating on Goodreads. This makes me wonder what the heck I missed. Did it somehow go over my head? Are these 225 people who reviewed it all philosophers or students of existentialism? I think I’m too literal or too logical or too something to get this book. I just haven’t figured it out yet.
Ok, so if you are the deep thinking, philosophical, theological type, you may enjoy this book. If you read it and you don’t get it either, please let me know.