Book Review: MILTON IN PURGATORY by Edward Vass

Milton in Purgatory

From the publisher, Fairlight Books:

Milton Pitt leads an uneventful life, with a dull job and a secret longing for adventure. One morning, after he is hit by a speeding car, he suffers an out-of-body experience and awakens back in his bedroom. Everything is just the same – that is, except for the bloody footprints leading to the chimney…

Is this his chance to lead a better life? Was it just a dream? Or is he simply dead?

In this richly inventive and humorous novella, Edward Vass brings the themes of Dante’s Divine Comedy 700 years into the future.

From me:

As I first read the above description of Milton in Purgatory, I instantly became curious about the story. I was also very intrigued by the book’s cover and I immediately had several questions. Is there something evil going on with the sharp-looking objects above the person in the chair? Speaking of which, do people get comfortable-looking chairs like that in purgatory? Also, what’s going on with that butterfly in front of that person’s obscured face? Are there butterflies in the afterlife? I’m not too keen about butterflies as it is, so will I have to continue to deal with the nasty little things after I die?

My personal feelings about butterflies aside, I decided to press on and see what this book was all about. And I’m so very glad that I did. I can honestly say that I’ve never read anything quite like Milton in Purgatory before. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

This is one of those books that is quite difficult to say too much about without giving away too many things about the plot. It’s a very clever and highly original story and I feel that readers of it would be best served by not knowing too much about it before they begin reading it.

And they should definitely read it. You, the person reading this review right now, you should be part of the “they” that I just mentioned. If you read Milton in Purgatory, you’re going to be experiencing some very good writing from author Edward Vass, who is an incredibly talented writer. In this book, he gives us a unique story that is all over the place. It’s funny. It’s dark. It’s surreal. It’s uplifting.

A book has to be very special for me to already want to re-read it, directly after I read it for my first time, but that’s exactly how I feel right now about Milton in Purgatory. I think it’s brilliant. I loved it.

*This book will be published on August 1, 2019 by Fairlight Books. I received an Advanced Reading Copy of it from them, via NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review.