Getting into Heaven—and Out Again
By Albrecht Gralle
Translated by Friederike Gralle
Illustrated by Sally Blakemore
Grounded in descriptions of heaven and hell from Swedish scientist-turned-theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, this fanciful tour of the afterlife speaks to anyone with doubts about spiritual belief. Read more
Paperback or e-book, 96 pages
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In this light-hearted tour of the afterlife, based on the writings of Swedish scientist-turned-seer Emanuel Swedenborg, Albrecht H. Gralle takes the reader on a tour of heaven, hell, and the spaces between. What is it like in heaven? What about hell? What happens to people who have suffered horribly in this life? How do we reconcile that suffering with the idea of an all-loving God? What happens to people who simply don’t believe in anything beyond this world? What happens to the people who do? Is there sex in heaven? What about tea?
During pauses in the tour, Gralle poses some hard-hitting questions about the nature of belief that speak directly to people who wonder how a modern, rational person can have faith in the absence of proof. The result is at once humorous and thought-provoking.
“This is a fascinating, spiritually grounded look into the afterlife filled with beautiful insights of the Swedish mystic and visionary Emanuel Swedenborg, who understood the importance of our divine inner connection and that we are what we love. I truly enjoyed reading this wonderful book.”
—Andrea R. Garrison, Author of In the Presence of Angels
“Swedenborgianism—the General Convention of the New Church—has never been a large religious movement but has made its impact felt via the lives of such notables as Helen Keller and Henry James Sr. (father of the novelist Henry James and the philosopher William James). The movement’s founder, Emanuel Swedenborg, had a mystical journey through heaven and hell, which he recorded in the 18th century; this amusing little book is a kind of revisitation of those ideas and experiences for a contemporary readership. The life of the angels (a quite real experience) is available to all of God’s children, as is the life of the devils if they choose it. VERDICT: A brief and winning introduction to a noted Christian sect’s doctrines of the afterlife; essential for Swedenborgians and recommended for their individual seekers as well.”
—Library Journal, May 1, 2012
“This is a very readable short story about a character (you) who goes in to the spiritual world (as gleaned from concepts from Emanuel Swedenborg’s writings) to investigate it with the guide of your own curiosity and an angel. You are allowed to go where you want, when you want to go . . . but sometimes you find you want to get out again quickly (too much of a good thing when you’re not used to it is just as rough as being frightened in places you probably shouldn’t have gone into in the first place). Interspersed in the story of your own exploration are “interludes” of explanation or “a pause for reflection.” These interludes are full of helpful background and insights from the author and a wide range of historical and modern experts. Add in cartoon illustrations and you have a short, fun, informative ride into the afterlife . . . and back out again.”
—Reviewed by Jon Childs, head of the Oak Arbor Church bookroom
“An all loving God shouldn’t discriminate. Getting into Heaven and Out Again is an exploration from German author Albrecht Gralle, as he presents a unique musing on the afterlife, combining his own ideas and beliefs with scientist mystic Emanuel Swedenborg to present an original take on Heaven, Hell, and the nature of God, and what he wants out of our lives. With humor and plenty to ponder about the spiritual faith, Getting in Heaven and Out Again is expertly translated from German by Friederike Grallke, with illustration from Sally Blakemore.
—Wisconsin Bookwatch, July 2012