A broad survey of global and historical views of the post-life spiritual realm ... In this vast overview, writer and therapist Wolff wades deep into the murky waters of heaven, the afterlife, and unseen planes of being. The sweeping narrative—designed for lay readers, some of whom may be overwhelmed by its scope—introduces countless intriguing concepts, from near-death experiences to reincarnation ... Wolff admirably captures the ambiguity involved in Jewish teachings on the afterlife ... A soulful, far-reaching primer on what lies beyond.
Therapist Wolff delivers an elegant if scattered study of the afterlife in this wide-ranging survey ... Some beliefs merit entire chapters; others—notably Indigenous religions—warrant a paragraph or two ... these granular stories cannot overcome the oversimplifications and inconsistencies ... Spiritualists of any stripe will find much to ponder.
Ms. Wolff surveys and reflects on ideas of the afterlife in the ancient world, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and post-Christian spiritualism. She also interviews adherents of a wide variety of faiths ... Ms. Wolff writes with clarity and style, and she attempts to understand each conception of heaven, however distant from her own Roman Catholic belief, on its own terms ... full of absorbing detail ... The author of a wide-ranging book of this sort can’t be expected to have read every work she treats, but Ms. Wolff relies too heavily on secondary sources ... But by the end of the book, Ms. Wolff’s Muggeridgean respect for any acknowledgment of divinity has grown into a gingerly expressed universalism ... Other readers may take a kindlier view of the author’s permissive outlook. I remain stuck in the antediluvian habit of believing that some religious doctrines are true, and some false.