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A House-Boat on the Styx

A House-Boat on the Styx by John Kendrick Bangs
By: (1862-1922)

A House-Boat on the Styx is an entertaining and imaginative novel that introduces readers to a unique concept of the afterlife. The story follows a group of historical figures who reside on a houseboat that floats on the River Styx in the underworld. The characters, which include famous personalities such as Cleopatra, Shakespeare, and Nero, engage in witty banter and humorous situations as they navigate the challenges of their eternal existence.

The author, John Kendrick Bangs, does a fantastic job of creating a light-hearted and enjoyable atmosphere throughout the book. The dialogue between the characters is clever and funny, and the interactions between the various historical figures provide an interesting commentary on human nature. Bangs also incorporates elements of fantasy and mythology into the story, adding to the overall charm of the novel.

While the plot may not be particularly complex, the book is a quick and delightful read that will appeal to readers looking for a fun and entertaining story. Overall, A House-Boat on the Styx is a humorous and imaginative novel that offers a fresh take on the afterlife and is sure to leave readers smiling.

Book Description:

The premise of the book is that everyone who has ever died (up until the time in which the book is set, which seems to be about the time of its publication) has gone to Styx. This does not appear to be the conventional Hell described by Dante in The Inferno, but rather the Hades described in Greek myth (both of which had Styxes): a universal collecting pot for dead souls, regardless of their deeds in life.

The book begins with Charon, ferryman of the Styx (in The Inferno, he was the ferryman of the river Acheron) being startled—and annoyed—by the arrival of a house boat on the Styx. At first afraid that the boat will put him out of business, he later finds out that he is actually to be appointed the boat’s janitor.

What follows are eleven more stories (for a total of twelve) which are set on the house boat. There is no central theme, and the purpose of the book appears to be as a literary thought experiment to see what would happen if various famous dead people were put in the same room with each other. Each chapter is a short story featuring various souls from history and mythology.

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 2 reviews)

Reviewer: - September 4, 2015
Subject: A House-Boat on the Styx
A very creative writer of humor!....good readers
Reviewer: - July 29, 2013
Subject: Most enjoyable
The readings were all well done and despite some of my ignorance of the figures involved, I found it entertaining through the use of language as well as the humor.

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