My Book Recommendation



A collection of religious-themed librettos imagines three versions of the afterlife.

Who knows what awaits people on the other side. In this volume of opera librettos, Lass dramatizes a few possible outcomes. In Severe Passage, Mark, an accomplished academic with a bone to pick with God, meets the angel Gabriel in a void between lives. Gabriel tells Mark that God has decided to grant him three wishes, but the obstinate man refuses them. They argue for a long time about the nature of God’s justice, but when one of Mark’s former loves, Dorothy, arrives in the same void—a recent death by suicide—the stakes of the dispute suddenly get a lot more personal. In The Wrong Heaven, the biblical Lazarus dies, but in the afterlife, he isn’t greeted by his God—the God of the Jews—but rather by Zeus, the god of the Greeks. Zeus is angry at the way humans have treated all the gods. It turns out Zeus is hoping to use Lazarus to get to the figure who has really piqued his interest: Jesus. But as Lazarus goes back and forth between death and life, he learns that he may be a pawn in an even larger game. In The Archaeologists, a group of eponymous excavators unearths artifacts of first-century Israel, a time and place that all of them seem to somehow have visited before. Lass’ verses vary from a philosophical register to a lyrical one, as here where Zeus mocks Lazarus upon his return to the afterlife by describing his cosmic journey: “Back across the horizon / Where the planets are aflame? / Back from the black holes, / Where suns explode / Beyond the latent borders of time? / Back, and riding the pale moon, / Like a wild bull / In a cucumber field?” There are moments in each work that are exciting and thought-provoking, many of which grapple with foundational questions of faith, purpose, and meaning. But as larger pieces, none of them really succeed. Each is concept-driven, with few characters and long arguments, adding up to a rather tedious experience. It’s admirable of the author to ask such big questions, but in doing so, he often loses the human scale of existence.

A compendium of intriguing but uneven dramas posing theological questions.

Pub Date: March 22, 2005

ISBN: 978-1-4134-8431-1

  • Great Circle: A novel Great Circle: A novel This is a story a woman’s unenthusiastic life as she strives to break free. Marian Graves is also from a family which has lost their fame. Instead of bitterness, Marian continues to dream for the future and works hard for her stars. Although her life is not easy, she refuses to let the circumstances of her past dictate the fate of her future. This is an American story about independence, shedding your past,Read More
  • Klara and the Sun: A novel The book Klara and the Sun is an emotional story about loss and love. A peculiar girl, Klara who always insists that someone else is always inside of her body finally comes face to face with her real self. It is a masterpiece is that still contemplative and thoughtful as you are being drawn in by the essence of that “someone else.”Read More
  • The Four Winds: A Novel The Four Winds: A Novel by Kristen Hannah is a charming yet gritty story of women who remember America's iconic dust storms and have been trying to survive since the nation asks them to. This book is a touching story of survival, resilience, and hope.Read More

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

You May Also Like