“Division Two,” a 2015 self-published novel from Philo Feaubique, presents a tiered system of the afterlife. Division One is analagous to the Christian vision of Heaven, Division Three is a void, and Divison Two is… complicated.
People who have intentionally harmed others in their life, don’t believe in an afterlife, or don’t believe they belong in Division One, are sent to Division Two. Once there, they are either assigned a private room where their deaths are replayed continually until they ask for help, or they are assigned a task by one of several Gatekeepers, whose mission is to help other Division Two members escape from the hells in their private rooms. This sounds much like Purgatory, but with a goal of achieving an Eastern-style personal serenity rather than atonment.
Movement between divisions is possible, and in a highly comic and completely believable scene, one soul that has gone to Division One becomes immediately indignant when he sees the others than have been allowed entry (I can see many evangelicals having this reaction), and requests to be sent down to Division Two.
The thought-provoking view of the afterlife makes the novel very engaging, although the pacing is too often slow and repititive. The novel also uses too many characters, many of whom are indistinguishable from the others and display little or no growth over the course of the narrative.
Like many self-published novels, “Division Two” would benefit from a good editor, which might actually be in the works — the author has temporarily pulled the book from the market to work on a revision. I hope Philo follows through with his revision and employs an editor, because the novel does have promise.