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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2012 Strange Violin Editions (P)2012 Strange Violin Editions

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    406
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    173
  • 3 Stars
    105
  • 2 Stars
    28
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    18

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    74
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    25
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    6

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    40
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Riveting and somewhat depressing

I liked this book. It is one view of what Hell could be like, and I have to warn you, the more you think about A Short Stay in Hell, the more you realize what a total drag it would be to be there, and the thought is a little depressing. It is so well written, though, and the characters come through so well, that you may not be able to get it out of your head for a while. I particularly liked the demon at the start of the book, and the way the narrator caught the character.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

This shouldn't have worked - but it did

What aspect of Sergei Burbank’s performance would you have changed?

Too little affect in his narrative, too little distinction among characters in his dialogue. His diction was quite muddy.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes; yes indeed.

Any additional comments?

There's very little in the way of character development, but it's so evocative of a feeling of timelessness and the infinite that I'm fascinated. I can't wait to see where the story is going. This is what reading fantastical literature is supposed to do for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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listen to it uninterrupted

You’re in hell and finding out that everything you were taught on faith is a lie. Are you going to say to the devil “but it’s not fair!!!!!”? I’ve often imagined that one and always it makes me laugh a that’s-not-funny laugh. So I found the opening scene not just memorable but funny and smart. And then it gets even better. Over and over in this short book I shook my head with a silent OMG. This short stay in hell kept me thinking about it long after I finished listening. Listen to it uninterrupted.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Wonderfully mind-bending

I love this book and am haunted by its implications. This is a hell that seems real and is motivating. An eternity of monotony, limitations and a death of expectation would indeed be hell.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • joshua
  • PINEVILLE, LA, United States
  • 10-24-13

Intriguing!

Where does A Short Stay in Hell rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very good book. Maybe not the absolute best I have read, but definitely near the top. This book was a little different than my usual read. I greatly enjoyed it. My only gripe is that it was not long enough!!!! It definitely was one of those books I did not want to put down and when the end came I was upset. There was so much more I wanted to hear about this Hell.

Any additional comments?

Great narration and great story line. Again I wish it was longer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Intriguing. Open ended.

An interesting take on what a version of hell could be. And though there are beds and food and conversation, it artfully portrays the madness that occurs from sameness and no end in sight. The ending is very open and I suppose that's intentional, as there is no end in sight for these characters.

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  • Story

Wow

This book was rough. It was so impactful and devastating. It left me wanting to know more!!

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A Book Lover's Hell

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book. I liked the open-ended questions it raised about religion, authority, God, and the afterlife. I enjoyed the book's pacing; it didn't meander or attempt to philosophize for you. The story's rather ambiguous in fact.

What other book might you compare A Short Stay in Hell to and why?

There is J L Borges short story The Library of Babel. I highly recommend that.Recent books I was reminded of include Drew Magary's The Hike (an odd quest/life journey) and Michael Poore's Reincarnation Blues.

All of them concern life and the afterlife in non-preachy, mysterious ways. They're also fun reads.

Which character – as performed by Sergei Burbank – was your favorite?

There was only one main character. He was relatively opaque. More of an outsider to his own emotions.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No

Any additional comments?

The book might've been better longer. Maybe. The author told the story with minimal characterizations, background, descriptions, and events. In some ways it's like a sketch.It worked for me. I'm a bit pleased I didn't have to listen to three 22-hour audios to be told an interesting story.

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Wow.

An incredible existential novel. I am blown away by the feat that must have been conceiving and writing the story.

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Easily in my top 10 books!

I’ve been trying to write reviews to my favorite books and this book easily lands in the upper tier for me. I randomly heard of it reading a review to another book. I’ve listened to it at least 5 times, which is easy considering how short it is. I love thinking about the size of the library and the desperation the inhabitants would feel.