Among the Lost, set in the modern American rust belt, is a meditation drawn from Dante’s Purgatorio. To Dante, Purgatory was the mountain where souls not damned went after death to cleanse themselves of sin in preparation for entering Paradise. What, Steinzor asks, are we preparing ourselves for, having lost the fear of hell and the hope of heaven, in the course of our daily urban existence? And whatever that is, how do we go about preparing for it?.
Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake) is book 2 in Seth Steinzor’s trilogy based on Dante’s Inferno. I haven’t read Dante since high school but I remember some of the storyline.
Dante guides the narrator here as he goes through the motions of daily life. Birth, death, family, love, religion and politics are some of the themes encountered within these pages.
This second installment, based on Dante’s Purgatorio, takes the reader through Purgatory. It starts off with a husband in a hospital room while his wife is in labor. The narrator sees life and death in the hospital, like yin and yang. I have always found the idea of purgatory to be a fascinating and terrifying one. The thought of a soul being stuck midway like that, neither here nor there, in limbo.
The narrator is looking for his love Victoria and on reading the foreword, I found out the author based Victoria’s character on a girl he loved in real life who sadly, tragically passed away.
There, a woman floats in a coma. Cancer shipwrecked her. Voices come to her pure and distant as sea-birds’ cries. Her husband, sleeping in the chair beside her her bed, her life raft, is not ready to let her go.
p.15, Among the Lost by Seth Steinzor
I found Steinzor’s writing to be lyrical and almost spellbinding. Although this is second in the trilogy it can be a stand-alone read. Told in the form of a poem, I enjoyed it because it wasn’t what I expected. It starts with Canto I, ending with Canto XXXIII.
I have never read anything based on Dante’s work and I found myself pleasantly surprised. It is evident the author has a great admiration for Dante’s work and his trilogy is a lovely tribute to that epic poem. The ending of Among the Lost leaves it open for the final book.
Now I’m old enough to wish I’d known enough to listen to his memories, take them in, and make them part of my life; but that kind of wisdom doesn’t come until you’re filled with things you can’t forget and fear they could be forgotten.
p.104, Among the Lost
Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake is on tour, here is the full tour schedule:
Jan. 10: the bookworm (Review)
Jan. 12: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)
Jan. 17: Nerdy Talks Books (Review)
Jan. 18: The Indextrious Reader (Review)
Jan. 19: Everything Distils Into Reading (Review)
Jan. 20: Eva Lucia Reviews (Review)
Jan. 21: Readaholic Zone (Review)
Jan. 23: Book Nerd Demigod (Review)
Jan. 24: Eva Lucia Reviews (Interview)
Jan. 25: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)
Jan. 30: Necromancy Never Pays (Review)
about the author:
Seth Steinzor protested the Vietnam War during his high school years near Buffalo, New York, and his years at Middlebury College, advocated Native American causes after law school, and has made a career as a civil rights attorney, criminal prosecutor, and welfare attorney for the State of Vermont. Throughout he has written poetry. In early 1980s Boston he edited a small literary journal. His first, highly praised book, To Join the Lost, was published in 2010.
Disclaimer: I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I obtained my free review copy of Among the Lost via Poetic Book Tours in exchange for my honest opinion.