Have you ever wondered what heaven is like? Can you fly in the afterlife? Will you be married? Will you be able to re-visit earth? Are there animals in heaven? These are some of the questions considered in this fictional tale of Charlie Vaughan, an older gentleman who dies suddenly and goes to heaven.
It’s a heady, hallucinogenic mix - think CS Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, crossed with Dante’s Inferno, a twist of Frank Peretti and the TV series V (green lizards controlling people). It is exhilarating, strange, cosmic and confusing in equal measure.
There are some angelic beings (not enough) and lots of demons (too many) causing havoc. The demons lead people astray. The angelic beings, including recently deceased Charlie, fly back to earth. At this point, it is probably better to leave your theological brain at the door and just enjoy this novel for what it is. Otherwise, the mental gymnastics around the fantastic extra-biblical material is just too much. The lingering image, of a golden cord to heaven made up of the prayers of believers is both powerful and poignant. And while the book would benefit from more about Jesus, and the presence of God, it does contain thoughtful, well-placed prods to believers not to be complacent about the lost, and interesting ideas about free will and choice. Amid the phantasmagoric, there is some sound theology.