Our narrator is on a very special sort of visit, through the dark and murky streets of the afterlife and then onwards to the hyper-real heaven, where he and fellow travellers in their current state seem faint and fragile. Soon each of them is met by a person they admire, and faced with a challenge to their thinking, behaviour or history that they must face or change if they want to move forward to the wonders beyond.
Only C.S. Lewis could write this sort of story and not be preachy or annoying, and make it compelling and exciting. This was a slim book but I finished it so quickly because it was just fascinating!! Deep thoughtfulness mixed with simple language, masterful storytelling and real humanity. Lewis, you genius.
I mean really. A visitor to heaven and hell should be a terribly dull and religious text, you would have thought. But Lewis imbues each with a fascination and imagination beyond our hackneyed pictures, and thus reinvents their fascination.
I revel, too, in his language. Always. His prose seems to be like a clear, pleasant stream flowing down a Scottish valley. His turn of phrase, his language literally makes me smile.
Despite how delightful it was, it was also challenging. The various characters are presented with parts of themselves, actions and thoughts, that could even seem to be good from the outside, but Lewis gets to the centre of the truth. No easy platitudes here; here is a passion for purity, truth and goodness. And always forgiveness on offer if you have something else to exchange.
I mightily enjoyed this little book, and would recommend it to anyone.