The Last Way Station: Hitler’s Final Journey
by Jon Reisfeld
Hot Gates Press
Publication date: November 14, 2011
Book received from: Author
The Last Way Station is a speculative fantasy novella chronicling Adolf Hitler’s time after his reported suicide. Reisfeld gives us a world where Hitler is stuck in a kind of purgatory, unable to move on until his ‘caseworker’ finds him fit to do so. Hitler is forced to relive the atrocities he inflicted upon others- from his victims’ perspective, as he is placed into the bodies of each and every person he affected.
His caseworker finds him to be the most difficult charge yet, as the results are not what are expected. It quickly becomes clear that Hitler’s beliefs run deeper than anyone could have imagined, and his lack of empathy is astonishing. The question of how far one can be pushed until surrendering mentally is explored in a whole new way, and the motive behind one’s convictions may be the key.
The exploration of the psychology of evil, the importance of empathy, and what one feels they must do to survive are themes throughout The Last Way Station. With an angle that is different than other works based upon Hitler’s life, this provides a true ‘what if?’ approach. It is not as though the events in the book will change anything in reality, but we are able to explore the reaches of evil and the importance of being held accountable.
The only shortcoming of this novella is exactly that: it is too short. The Last Way Station is an amazing and entertaining (although disturbing) read, but just as it starts to build momentum, it is over. It leaves hope that maybe Reisfeld will expound on his ideas and characters and give us a full-length novel in which to immerse ourselves.
For more about Jon Reisfeld, visit his website.
This book can be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookseller.
[This review is also published at LLBook Review.]