📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for A Short Stay in Hell, by Steven Peck
I’ve read this short novella at least four times already, but I received a physical copy for Christmas and couldn’t help but give it another read. Despite being existentially horrifying, it’s one of my favorite books of all time. The protagonist is a Mormon man who dies and wakes up to his surprise in hell. This hell is specifically promised to be finite, but it’s a vast kind of finite: It’s a Borges-inspired library that consists of every possible book (as if written by monkeys on typewriters), and once you find the book that tells your life story, you get out of hell. It turns out, though, that this library is mind-bogglingly huge, so you could live billions of lifetimes before finding your book. The point of the book is to problematize eternity: If a “finite” hell is this awful, how much worse is an eternal hell? Heck, even an eternal heaven doesn’t necessarily sound great when you’re done with the book. For such a depressing premise, though, it’s so well done—and leaves so much to think about.
You can use click on the
< button in the top-right of your browser window to read and write comments on this post with Hypothesis. You can read more about how I use this software here.