Chris Mcmullen's Reviews > Hell

Hell by Robert Olen Butler
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's review
Sep 06, 2010

it was amazing
Read in September, 2010

This book was an incredible journey through the weird, the paranormal, and the psychological chaos that is embodied by our experiences of pain, suffering, and anxiety. While the characters in the book are all dead and are doomed to eternal damnation in Hell, the true source of the book's humor and brilliance is the metaphor that is found when looking at the "big picture" the book has to offer. It questions the very foundation of what makes us human and what makes us happy, but more importantly, it reveals how we, as humans, need pain and suffering and anxiety.
After a twist of fate, the main character, Hatcher McCord, is on a mission to find the truth of what makes us good or evil while driving at the true meaning of free will. He is determined to escape eternal damnation which leads him to a revelation that echos in the mind of the reader and, through metaphor, reveals the complexities of what makes us human.
This is truly one of the best books I have ever read. As a writer, it gave me a better understanding of how to convey the processes of the unconscious. Dream-like descriptions are all over the place in this book and it creates a whole new world with new rules and new boundaries. I also learned a great deal about character development and how to reveal small bits of characters when writing a full length novel like this. The author of this book introduces themes and particular qualities of characters in such a way that it is natural, progressive, and gives the reader insights about the characters as they grow and learn new things.
Overall, it was a great read and I would recommend this to everyone and anyone who has an interest in the unconscious and what makes us human.

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