10 November 2011
Book Review: To Join the Lost
Author: Seth Steiznor
Publisher/Year: Antrim House / 2010
Date Finished: 8 November 2011
Source/Format: TLC Tours / Print
Book #: 84
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
The Short and Sweet of It
Seth Steinzor’s To Join the Lost revisits the route that Dante traveled through his Inferno, depicting the sights, sounds and scents of evil as they appear to a modern American. As with any great and ancient city, a lot has changed in Hell over the past seven hundred years. The travelers encounter horrors and escape new perils while dodging age-old invitations to self-destruction. Their adventures invite us to contemplate evil’s eternal and ever-changing nature.
A Bit of a Ramble
I love Dante's Inferno with an all-encompassing passion. I am not sure if that means I was predisposed to like this re-imagining or just the opposite. My first reaction to the idea of a modernization of Dante's Inferno was curiosity, followed shortly by derision, which slowly morphed back into curiosity. Whatever preconceived notions I had mean very little as I ended up truly enjoying the work and was happy to add it to my Inferno collection.
Just like the original Inferno, To Join the Lost is a wonderful combination of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, apropos punishments, and intriguing philosophy. While a small part of me worried that I would be distracted or frustrated or annoyed by the inevitable changes, I actually found most of them quite humorous and fitting. For example, I couldn't help but giggle when the entry to hell was paved with cubicles and paperwork instead of the sinner-tossing Minos.
I am most impressed that Steiznor made this work his own without neglecting or demeaning the original. While I, obviously, compared this to Dante's Inferno, I definitely could have read, understood, and enjoyed To Join the Lost without having read Inferno; at the same time, having read the original did not detract from my enjoyment. I feel like I may be harping on this fact a wee-bit, but seriously folks, a re-imagining of a story I love is held to a pretty high standard whether it's a parody, film, modernization, homage, re-workings, etc.
If you enjoy Inferno, or even if you haven't, I recommend picking this one up!
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I received this as part of the TLC Book Tours, so be sure to check out the other reviews!
Question: What the phat is the appropriate word? Reworking, retelling, reimagining, homage, pastiche, etc.? Someone should do an in-depth post on all this. :)