Just to See Hell

In this collection of short stories, Chandler’s thematic nihilism is on full display.  In “To the Face”, a disillusioned and world-weary man takes Buddhist “destruction of self” ideals to horrifying new extremes.  Then, in “Somewhere Between Screaming and Crying”, an alcoholic mother implements a unique blend of violence and culinary creativity to get back at her cheating husband.  “Mechanical Patriots” finds a young soldier coming to grips with the way the realities of militaristic jingoism contrast with his deluded dreams of valor and heroism.  In the concluding novella, “Coming Down”, Jesus is betrayed by His father, and in a serious of rebellious acts, forms an unlikely friendship with the devil and ventures into a night of excess and sin.  The debauchery culminates in an event that ties all eleven of the book’s stories together in a shockingly blasphemous finale.

 

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