I'll say this: I admire Seth Steinzor for pursuing his passion with this book. His own admiration for Dante's Divine Comedy shines on every page of this unique new fiction, and his desire to bring that master work back to modern life is certainly a laudable one as well.
To be sure, To Join The Lost, Steinzor's modern re-imagining of Dante's Inferno, returned me to that classic with a contemporary spin. If such an updated literary undertaking is on your agenda this year, then you might find this narrative poem a worthy read.
Chock full of 20th century historical references (imagine Dante's Hell peopled with the likes of Bobby Kennedy, Adolf Hitler, and James Joyce, among others), Steinzor's journey with Dante as his guide funhouse-mirrors the famous poet's own fictional journey. Plot parallels abound, and I suspect that at least a passing acquaintance with the original would benefit any reader considering this new work as well.
Happily for me, I recently re-acquainted myself with a light-hearted graphic reimagining of the Divine Comedy, and I did read a more "serious" translation back in college, so I found this contemporary version fairly easy to follow and even grinned from time to time at Steinzor's recastings of Dante's 'crimes and punishments'.
All in all, this happened to be one of those reading experiences when I wanted to find more personal and intellectual satisfaction in a book than I did, but I do not necessarily fault Mr. Steinzor for it. I do believe that this work could offer much to the right person at the right time, so if you're already a fan of Dante or hoping to find a more accessible entry into his work, you might pick this one up and give it a go.
Ready to sample a chapter? Head on over to Seth Steinzor's website.
Want a second opinion? Hop onto the To Join The Lost blog tour.
Ready to buy? Here's how.
p.s. Gratitude to TLC Book Tours and to Mr. Steinzor for offering me a perusal copy.
My action: Mr. Steinzor's work has convinced me: I simply must return to Dante again this summer.