When We Join Jesus In Hell - Lee  Thompson There is so much going on in this novella. I read it once for the story. You have to do that because this one is going to rip you apart as you follow Fist from the shattering opening scene through one harrowing pivotal scene after another. I then read it again for all of the rest of the story. The symbolism. The literary references. The structure. The landscape as we progress becomes more surreal, the characters more symbolic and archetypal, as we drop from one level to the next and finally into the fire created by his own regret.

Choices. It is all about choices. How some choices, once made, can't be undone. We follow Fist as he carries his dead (both figuratively and literally like Faulkner's characters in As I Lay Dying) to their final resting place and himself to his revenge and, he hopes, redemption. Along the way he meets people that are not necessarily bad, just conflicted like himself. He also meets monsters, some human some not, a fascinating character ("The Artist") that I think of as a reflection of the novelist himself, and in the end, his own personal demon.

Emotionally wringing, this book will take its toll on you. From its devastating first few pages to what is the most gut wrenching final sentence that I have read in a long time. It will leave you shaken and numb. This novella is what dark fiction is all about.