Book - 2009
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Hatcher McCord is an evening news presenter who has found himself in Hell and is struggling to explain his bad fortune. He's not the only one to suffer this fate--in fact, he's surrounded by an outrageous cast of characters, including Humphrey Bogart, William Shakespeare, and almost all of the popes and most of the U.S. presidents. The question may be not who is in Hell but who isn't. McCord is living with Anne Boleyn in the afterlife but their happiness is, of course, constantly derailed by her obsession with Henry VIII (and the removal of her head at rather inopportune moments). One day McCord meets Dante's Beatrice, who believes there is a way out of Hell, and the next morning, during an exclusive on-camera interview with Satan, McCord realizes that Satan's omniscience, which he has always credited for the perfection of Hell's torments, may be a mirage--and Butler is off on a madcap romp about good, evil, free will, and the possibility of escape. Butler's depiction of Hell is original, intelligent, and fiercely comic, a book Dante might have celebrated.
Publisher: New York, NY : Grove Press : Grove/Atlantic, Inc. ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, c2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780802119018
Characteristics: 232 p. ; 22 cm.


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Butler writes a "Dante’s Inferno" for the modern man. His Hell is a reflection of the hundreds of little hells we inflict on ourselves and each other everyday. He is inventive and dryly witty.

Jan 22, 2011

This is one hell of a book, and I don't intend the pun.
Butler presents Hell in such wit and graceful storytelling with plenty of cultural and historical references to keep the reader grinning.
The ending is perfect (I won't spoil it); it paints a terrific portrait of the human soul.
Fun fact I came across: the author put himself in the book as a nameless character on page 35. The reference text can be faintly seen on the computer screen in the author's photo inside the back cover where Butler carries a knowingly, devilish hint of a smile.


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