The Stories of Loneliness
For readers looking for stories about predicaments of life, “To Hell” is a good collection of seventeen short stories about everyday life of the ordinary people who are mostly either experiencing a dilemma or narrating it.
There is a thread that runs through the book. Majority of stories include characters who had never thought they were supposed to experience such predicaments. So they start analyzing events after happening, as if they are not equipped with any kinds of prognostication. Although apart from a few stories like “In the Lake of Grief”, or “The Youths” in which characters come up with a decision showing their rebellion or struggle, this analysis is not followed by a hopeful outcome. We are facing with those who miserably feel alone and exhausted, those who have missed or are missing something and are not motivated enough to stop it, those who are trapped on the inside with a sense of stasis, feel regret or can’t talk to others about what they feel or have in mind, and generally those who feel lost in a community of people. It is difficult to emerge from a story with the impression that things will get better, or that they will even change at all. While reviewing the past, characters find the whole life absurd, as we see in “Things that are being missed”, “The Seasons”, or “The Cries in Darkness”; or they cannot understand why and how the pickle they are living in, has started. Where does the problem lie? Why is it as if there is no common language to speak, and consequently, no common understanding to share? The book doesn’t answer but the characters are just portrayed there for us to ponder.
The variation of the collection is desirable. People of different ages, jobs, and social classes are presented. While the setting or characters’ thoughts make them touchable, their reactions to the events sometimes wipe out this familiarity and leave us wondering about their special ways of handling a situation.
The point of view, either first or third person, allows the reader to immediately engage, but personally I enjoyed the distinguished narrative language of stories which takes a predicament and turns it to an ordinary event of life that is completely compatible with the theme and mental conditions of the characters. Uninterruptedly, it keeps you reading a disaster as fluent as a common newspaper report, and in this way, isn’t it willing to trigger something about our being which keeps us living a vanishing life as ease as a habitual moment, by the help of time?
Sima H - M.A in Linguistics