Monday, September 30, 2013

Paula's short review of A Short Stay In Hell

A Short Stay In Hell by Steven L. Peck
Strange Violin Editions  
Lent to me by a friend
4 stars

A few months ago my friend was over for dinner and saw that I was reading On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony. The cover of my edition was a great illustration of Death riding in a Cadillac and prompted a discussion of how we both adore books that take on different views and discussions of death (and capital D personification Death). Her immediate recommendation was the novella A Short Stay in Hell

The premise of the book is simple. Our main character, Soren Johansson, has died. He led a simple Mormon life and died young of health reasons. He finds himself in Hell- because all along Zoroastrianism was the true religion. The great thing about this religion? Hell isn't eternal. The downside... it can still last a very very very very very very very long time. (We're still talking millions of years). Soren gets cast into a specific hell based on The Library of Babel. He is told that as soon as he finds the book that contains his life story he is allowed to leave. Being cast into a library for awhile- that sounds awesome right? Soren quickly finds out that is not the case. This library contains every book that has ever been written and Soren can't leave until he finds his own....

Guys. This book is so good. It reminds me (in the best kind of way) of that Twilight Zone episode Time Enough At Last where the bookworm's glasses break. Clocking in at just over 100 pages - it only took me an hour or so to read. I devoured it. Each event that happened was perfectly chosen and needed to be in the story. This book presents a lot of different ideas on death and eternity and isolation. But in a way that doesn't feel forced or "REALLY IMPORTANT" like a lot of literature tends to do. 

Unfortunately since it is such a small release- it might be difficult to find a copy at a big box store. But it should be available on Amazon. so if you are looking for something quick to read that will still fill your mind with amazing thoughts. I highly suggest you click that link.


  1. This story sounds really neat. I read a couple of books about hell recently (not sure exactly why that happened...) and this would fit in perfectly!

  2. Interesting story. I`ll search for it. Thanks for the indication.

  3. Ooh, this sounds really interesting and good - I'll definitely be looking out for it. Thanks for the review!

  4. I've never heard of it, BUT OH YES IT SOUNDS AWESOME. In fact, it sounds so far up my street I'm surprised it hasn't hammered on the door yet... *poddles off to add it to her epic wishlist*

  5. Sounds excellent! Also FYI for anyone looking for a copy - I found it on Book Depository for around $10!


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