The Afterlife of a Restless Soul
John F. Brinster
Outskirts Press (2013)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (12/13)
John F. Brinster’s “The Afterlife of a Restless Soul” begins when Einsteinian scientist and professed atheist Jeremiah B Cackerly III dies as a result of negative side effects from Viagra. Going off into the afterlife, he is surprised to discover that one actually exists. However, the presence of God is not apparent. Wandering aimlessly through what he now calls ‘Spiritland’ he encounters other souls. Those whose lives were fairly meaningless when they were alive have acquired Squawk’s condition which is not something positive. The others simply meander around with no meaning to their afterlives.
Cackerly cannot handle the lack of order and sets out to make changes. Rearranging ‘Spiritland’ in an attempt to bring order and meaning is a daunting task. During this time, he has the opportunity to meet with the leader of Hell, who actually had once been his nemesis in real life. He also encounters various historical figures and has a chance to converse with them. The most unusual character that he meets is a Yeti. Yes, the mythological character that leaves huge footprints behind, actually once existed. Along the way he also encounters two women who have a huge effect on his afterlife. One is the mysterious Veronique, who seems to have more going for her in a spiritual sense than the other ‘afterlifers’. The other is Gabrielle who Cackerly will soon discover has huge plans for him.
Once Cackerly gets Heaven in order, he again finds himself bored. He feels that he should step down from his role as God of ‘Spiritworld’ and turn it over to the mysterious Veronique, whom he feels would be more qualified to run things. Turning to Gabrielle, he seeks assistance in returning to his human form. He feels his life was unfinished and is compelled to return to the real world and its challenges. The real world better fits his idea of Heaven and knowing that he can return to his former project and make a difference to the whole planet is of incredible importance. So off he goes on to his next adventure.
John F. Brinster’s “The Afterlife of a Restless Soul,” is part of a series of books called “The Clackerly Stories.” It is not necessary to read them in order, however, once the reader finishes enjoying this story and the creativity of the author, they will find themselves wanting to read more of his works. I enjoyed reading this story because of its uniqueness. It also made me think about appreciating my complicated life while I am doing my time on this planet. We never know what is coming next, whether it be nothing or an existence without meaning, it is important to appreciate the challenges that we have now. I highly recommend this novel.