A good, thought-provoking read, reminiscent of C.S. Lewis.
In this satire, reminiscent of C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce", a Christian of the twentieth century is taken on a trip to Purgatory. Accompanying him is the stern, wise Guardian (angel) named Lamiel, whose wisdom is not always appreciated by the nameless narrator...
This book explores the difference between "fake" Christianity, in which man or intellect is the object of worship, and true Christianity, in which God is the only object. Man, and especially the protagonist of the story, is shown with all his faults and failings toward his Lord. Sinning, however, is never advocated, and Lamiel draws the narrator's attention to his wrong thoughts as well as actions.
The entire book is spiritual, as it takes place among angels. The place that the narrator is visiting is neither Hell nor Heaven, but is rather Purgatory - the place where souls go after death and before the return of Christ. Lamiel is known as a Guardian, which is a specific type of angel. A demon appears once. Other angels also play a part in the tale. Between Lamiel and the narrator there are many discussions about Man, Nature, Faith, the Kingdom of God, and many things pertaining to the Christian Faith and, ultimately, to God Himself.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Led by Lamiel, the narrator visits a man he knew in college. It is stated that the man became very much what we would call "New Age-y", joined a Nudist Camp, and first showed the narrator a picture of his fiancee taken in said camp. The man talks about the beauty of his fiancee's body and how wonderful she was for at least two paragraphs, and though sparing us any very lewd details, Blamires gets his point across. There is a mention of a celebrity from Earth showing up in a Purgatory office and stunning all the (human) workers with her beauty.
Crude or Profane Language or Content
Blamires takes willing readers on a very deep theological and philosophical jaunt through the spiritual realm, somewhat reminiscent of Dante's "Divine Comedy." He was very influenced by his friend C.S. Lewis when the latter wrote The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce; however, Blamires admits in his introduction to his 1984 edition that whereas Lewis was careful to keep out of the realm of angels, Blamires is willing to tread that ground. In that same introduction, he exhorts readers to realize that he is in no way claiming that this is the way Heaven/Purgatory/Hell will be, but is rather a satire and a book designed to get the Christian thinking about his life.
Blamires makes very fascinating and helpful comments throughout this work. His own aim was to "contrast bad thinking with sound thinking in an amusing and ironic way." Though it should be read with Blamires' own introductory comments in mind, this is a good book for any Christian who wishes to understand more about their spiritual journey.