One morning, attorney Dan Geary, seventy-seven years old, finds himself in the middle of a rolling, polychrome landscape. The greens are bold and bright. Birds sing in the distance. Tall grasses surge like a sea before the wind. He has never seen anything quite like it. But somehow—with the doctors and beeping monitors suddenly gone—he knows exactly where he is: the afterlife.
What a relief not to be floating on a cloud, playing a harp. Instead, a hiking pack full of gear sits on his back, and he feels the familiar itch to start walking toward the far-off mountains. But he finds there is no trail, no map, no signage, and no one else in sight. As gorgeous as the scenery is, Dan feels in his bones: this is Purgatory.
Growing up, he'd imagined Purgatory as a detention center for delinquent children. What a surprise to see its beauty, and to feel so much hope. Yet along the winding way, Dan starts recognizing his tangled, imperfect, often wasted life, and he wonders if he will ever be ready to meet God. With no clue how long his hike will take, he gradually learns—through memories and through encounters with other Heaven-bound hikers—how to desire the good, how to wait, and how to long for love.
With confessional honesty and a sense of humor, this book reimagines the purification of the afterlife as a tough journey saturated with faith, hope, and love—and with overwhelming beauty.
"Norton's entertaining and thoughtful debut imaginatively examines a life after death, deftly balancing spiritual, moral, and psychological analysis with gentle humor."
— Eleanor Nicholson, Author, A Bloody Habit: A Novel
"Grab your favorite walking stick and join newly deceased Dan Geary as he hikes his way to Heaven. But be warned: this soul has lots to learn. A book of rare value, a you-are-there broadcast from the beyond. Read it, and find yourself making better use of the gift of this life as preparation for the next."
— David Pinault, Author, Providence Blue: A Fantasy Quest
"Norton goes where most authors fear to tread: the journey of a soul through the barren deserts, dark forests and daunting mountain ranges of Purgatory. He’s created an adventure story in the tradition of the medieval quest and a meditation on the many obstacles to holiness that may be encountered—and ultimately overcome—in life."
— Fiorella Nash, Author, The Sleeping Witness: A Father Gabriel Mystery